Years ago, a landmark study at General Electric found its counterproductive and ineffective. Praise had no effect on performance, and criticism led to backsliding.
What was going on? The theory of cognitive dissonance may explain why praise failed to improve performance.
Studies show that when you reward people for behavior, they do continue that behavior. However, if you discontinue rewards or give them too frequently, people actually slack off.
Adopt a Socratic style. Don’t give employees feedback. Instead, ask them how they’re doing and how they think they can improve.
— Adapted from Management Rewired, Charles Jacobs, Portfolio.
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