We are taught a lot about why providing constructive feedback to employees is important, it helps with their development, usually their job satisfaction and can help you build trust to delegate more (so you can focus on the key areas within your role).

But I want to share a different reason which I think a lot of you will connect with.

You know the theory about going to buy a car? You have a look around and settle on make and model in red. You walk away to think about it further and all of a sudden all you see driving on the road is the same red car.

As you may know, there is science behind why this is. Now to preface this, I’m not a Psychologist or Neuroscientist – so don’t worry, this will make sense to most of us!

Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) is at the base of your brain and acts as a filter against all the information that we’re exposed to (which is A LOT of information!). The RAS filters what is “important” to us by recognising what we are focusing on. Your RAS send this information to your conscious and  makes you more aware of it.

In the case of the red car – there aren’t necessarily more red cars on the road than there were yesterday, it’s just that your RAS has recognised that it’s now important to you so it filters more of the same information for you to be aware of.
Let’s transfer this to employee feedback.

If you notice something your team member is doing (whether it’s an act, or behaviour) that you would prefer done differently – unless you give them that feedback, it is not going to go away! In fact, apply the principles of RAS you are going to notice it more and more because it’s something you’ve focused on and hence has been recognised as “important” to you. It’s going to bug you even more and potentially drive you insane!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it can be difficult to actually provide the constructive feedback. Especially consistent constructive feedback when often the negatives are easier to pick up on.

But there are a lot of tools and frameworks to help you to do this and provide the guidance to make this practice become habitual. We focus on a lot of these frameworks at wattsnext, especially when training middle managers.

Consider it this way, along with all the other known benefits, give the feedback to your employees to help maintain your own sanity!

Providing consistent feedback will allow more space in your brain to focus on the productive and important areas, but most importantly it will help to keep you sane!

Author: wattsnext Group
The wattsnext Group blog is a compilation of ideas and expertise from the entire team, past and present with a few added gems from guest authors from time to time. With this collaborative approach, we can provide you with a broader perspective and high-level expertise across the small business landscape.