What I know to be true is, if we want better performance from our people, we must deliver feedback on their performance quickly, honestly, and consistently.

The GOOD: psychologists tell us behaviors that are reinforced are often repeated. Positive reinforcement is like oxygen. I actually had a business leader tell me “Why should I reinforce a compliment to someone I am paying to get the job done?”

You gotta be kidding? Actually, he was serious. He is “old school” I’m the boss, do what I say etc. He dismissed the advice as “too soft.” He continued with the sentiment that only when his employees knock it out of the park does he compliment them. What a missed opportunity. His head was in the sand, he was simply ignoring how human nature works.

If someone does something right, makes a good decision, or engages in useful action, the leader must reinforce it if he or she wants to see more of it. The key to positive reinforcement is to deliver it quickly — because delayed consequences lose their punch. The same is also true with poor performance.