Breath of Clarity

Positive Feedback

First and foremost, true positive feedback is genuine. In order to be genuine, a leader must make the feedback specific to the behaviors (Forward Focus n.d.). Further, true positive feedback is thorough, as it includes preparation, implementation and follow-up. It gives peace of mind to both the management and the employees (Manning 2014).

Positive feedback is also intended to motivate employees (Manning 2014). It brings reason to care about employee perception of their work’s meaning. The design of one’s job can create meaning and purpose for employees (Cassar and Meir 2018). The intended outcome of feedback is going to be achieved even more insofar as the good behavior being acknowledged is in regard to work that the employees feel passionate about. Further, workers may even care about meaningful work because it serves as a signal of an unobservable characteristic, like a firm’s trustworthiness (Cassar and Meir 2018). In cases where the positive feedback is coming from representatives of a company that the employees trust, the positive feedback is going to be significantly influential. That said, studying non-monetary motives of employees is crucial to enhancing the power of positive feedback (Cassar and Meir 2018).

Moving on, constructive feedback is given only when behavior change is necessary. Still, constructive feedback involves the development and encouragement of people. A leader is a coach for improvement, as opposed to an authority figure who may only be concerned with final results. Research shows improvement is most likely to occur when recipients believe change is possible. Crucially, throughout the process, a leader keeps communications lines open while an authority figure does not. Authority figures maintain a culture of discipline based on individual work ethic versus bureaucratic control. Instead, if constructive feedback is necessary, it should take the form of a caring confrontation based on core values of the organization (Manning 2014).

While delivering constructive feedback, my goal is to embody statesmanship and empower my followers to be entrepreneurs. A leader treats people with dignity and respect, while an authority figure may not. Statesmanship is the ability to work with and through other people. Statesmanship is able to multiply personal accomplishments through the efforts of others. A statesman seeks out the ideas and opinions of others and aims for consensus in settling agreements. They are able to involve others in decisions that affect them. Another characteristic that sets leaders apart from authority figures is that they train their employees to see the value in failure rather than fear it. Fear of failure can paralyze a person to the extent that opportunities are missed and achievement is reduced. Instead, entrepreneurs view failure as the opportunity to begin again, only more educated (Manning 2014). A leader models healthy responses to failure by always searching for ways to be better.


Cassar, Lea and Stephan Meier. 2018. “Non-monetary Incentives and the Implications of Work as a Source of Meaning”. The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 32(3): 215-238.

Forward Focus. Year (n.d.). “Constructive Feedback for Managers: Giving Feedback Effectively.” Forward Focus. YouTube. Nov. 27, 2016. Video, 5:06.

Manning, George. 2014. The Art of Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill

Comment by Professor Robert Gnuse:

Mary, even when things do not go as planned, a lesson can be learned negating the failure mentality. Good differentiation between a leader and an authority ‘s feedback as they are substantially different. For example, a leader should utilize, per the text, certain given elements of constructive feedback such as: it should be given in a timely fashion, clear, specific, non-judgmental, and actionable.