Human performance is inconsistent—even world-class athletes have off days. Yet, most managers focus on their employees' shortcomings when coaching and providing feedback. Sure we all have "opportunities for improvement," but research shows that identifying and building strengths produces better results than focusing on faults. Next time you're evaluating someone, remember that your goal is to raise their average performance, not critique a particularly good or bad day. Don't hold back the praise because of a few missteps. It's just as important to recognize and reinforce strengths as it is to point out where people fall short.
Harvard Business Review Blog
Source: "Why Does Criticism Seem More Effective than Praise?" by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback