The power of positive feedback

Improve the morale and engagement of your team by providing the correct balance of positive feedback and constructive criticism.

The feedback ratio in a healthy relationship is 5:1. This means that there should be five positive interactions for every negative interaction.

For every time you dish out criticism (constructive or otherwise), people should also receive five pieces of positive feedback.

Positive interactions come in many ways, for example:

  • Recognising effort and achievement
  • Showing an interest in someone’s work or emotions
  • Listening and showing empathy
  • Expressing affection
  • Demonstrating that someone matters

If you work with people that you believe are low performers, try to find positives no matter how small. Highlighting what they’re doing well can help with managing problem employees.

Now ask yourself this: When was the last time you praised someone you work with?

Persuasion techniques for product teams

We’ve all been there. Perhaps you need to negotiate more time for your team. Perhaps you’re trying to convince your teammates to buy-in to your idea. Perhaps you disagree with your roadmaps’ priorities. 

You’re trying to get people to agree with you and you know they’re apprehensive. You can see it in their body language. You can hear it in their tone. What can you do to subtly convince others to buy into your thinking?

Here are a few techniques to help you.

Why modern agencies need distributed client skills

Collaboration is the essential ingredient to success for modern agency teams. With digital so prevalent across organisations, agency teams need to easily integrate with client teams.

This presents a challenge as – although often fully integrated – there’s an agency/client contractual relationship. Team members represent your agency at critical moments, often without the support of a client services team. And the people embedded are often from a technical background so can lack the client services skills needed to deal with complex client challenges.

For these reasons, it’s essential for modern agencies to train their frontline staff in client services skills. Giving your team the skills, frameworks and processes they need to manage relationships gives them the confidence they need to represent you in front of clients.

When product teams need coercive leadership


Ever worked with a leader like that? Someone who leads by instruction, force and control – “it’s my way or the highway”.

This style of leadership usually leads to despondent teams with low levels of communication and engagement. Why challenge and debate when you’ll just get shouted down?

Teams that are based solely on this command-and-control leadership style are likely to develop a culture of non-acceptance, disengagement and regressive behaviour. Not great.

So, if coercive leadership is a negative leadership style then why would you choose to use it? Let’s consider three scenarios within modern product teams:

The key to high performing teams: Balance

In sports, you see it all the time. A collection of ‘elite’ players, often recruited at great expense, are beaten by a perceived ‘smaller’ team. Outrage follows, questions are asked, managers are fired… Where has it all gone wrong?

Often the answers are simple. People played out of position, players put into positions in which they’re uncomfortable, too many players with the same set of skills. What’s missing is a key ingredient of high performing teams: Balance.

It’s the same in business.

Teams stuffed with big thinkers will struggle to deliver. Teams full of analysers will struggle to extract themselves from the data and look at the bigger picture. Achieving diversity of background, outlook, skills, thinking and personality are key for 21st century leaders.

Don’t be a pushover: How to assert your opinion

Are you over-accommodating?

We’ve all been there – you don’t want to offend/it’s easier/you don’t want to argue – so you back away from any disagreement and accept someone else’s ideas, even though you might vehemently disagree with them. This is known as ‘being accommodating’.

Being accommodating can be a positive thing – accepting you’re wrong, preserving harmony and building social credit.

But being too accommodating can have its drawbacks. Society will often reward more assertive personalities who aren’t afraid to ask for what they want – ironically because they’re often asking people who are being accommodating!

Sometimes we need to assert our opinion for the benefit of ourselves and others.

Signs you might be too accommodating can typically include:

  1. You feel as though you’re always giving way to others (you probably are!)
  2. Your ideas or concerns aren’t taken seriously by your colleagues
  3. You’re surrounded by a general lack of discipline
  4. You feel nervous about what will happen if you say “no”

Being over accommodating will mean that others will get what they want often at your expense and can leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed.

Running interactive remote workshops: 10 best practices

Our training is high energy, super-interactive and a great learning experience for everyone – find out how we do it…

There are online events and conferences. And then there’s Team Sterka workshops – high energy, super-interactive and a great learning experience for everyone.

We run workshops with up to 100 people at a time over Zoom. Here’s how we do it…

Get Coaching: Our unique leadership coaching model

Get Coaching unlocks people’s potential and maximises their professional (and personal) performance…

Get Coaching™ is our proprietary process. It unlocks people’s potential to maximise their professional (and personal) performance.

Your senior team (and rising stars) discuss and resolve their toughest challenges with a leadership coach. During the 1-to-1 sessions, our coaches champion them to achieve more, get fulfilment and feel unstoppable.

Download the Get Coaching™ framework (PDF)

Introducing Team Sterka

Team Sterka has just launched – here’s all the background as to what we’re up to…

Team Sterka has just launched – we do training and coaching for cross-functional teams, mostly with brands doing digital at scale.

We don’t teach the mechanics of working in Agile… Instead we create high performing product teams by transforming people’s behaviour. Our People Skills as a Service™ programme gives people lifelong skills in leadership, emotional intelligence, resilience and a lot more.

Here’s a bit of background as to why we exist, and the problem we aim to solve (that no one else seems to be solving)…