The power of positive feedback

In this day and age it seems like people are quick to criticize, whether it be complaining about bad customer service or pointing out someone else's mistake. While it is important, in general, that wrongs be righted, we must not forget to recognize the positive that already exists. Sometimes we need to praise someone for a job well done, or point out something done right.

Over the week-end I was the flight attendant on a charter flying cruise ship passengers from Fairbanks to Dawson City. It was the first such charter of the year and there were a few wrinkles to be ironed out. It was my first solo flight on the Hawker and I enjoyed being my own boss in the back of the aircraft. Lets say the "control freak" aspect of my personality was quite sated.

Part of my job is to write up a report on my flights. During my three ferry flights (ferry flights are flights with no passengers) I had lots of time to write up my report, using up every inch of white space available. Yes, there were a few wrinkles, some to do with my own inexperience, but I also made a point to report on the positives. The grooming of the aircraft in Dawson City was impeccable and the personnel in were very open to my suggestions, even though I am a relatively new addition to the company. I made sure to verbally pass on the positive feedback to the personnel involved, as well as the suggestions. It really is a great company to work for, and you can tell by the standards of their employees.

Jesse, one of the ramp/grooming crew in Dawson City, did a fantastic job and was cheerful about it to boot. I love Jesse's Yukon story. He was living in BC and saw a photo of Emerald Lake in the Yukon, and decided to move here. It's a great reason if I ever heard one. Photo by Christa Galloway.

As for my own mistakes, I wrote myself up as well (e.g. The flight attendant should remember to fill out her own customs form before arriving at customs, duh) and did my traditional metal self-flagellation, lambasting myself for my stupidity.

And then something amazing happened. It was on my second passenger flight. I had a little extra time having ironed out a few of my own wrinkles from the first flight. I used that time to do some extra service, chat with passengers and hand out candies. During one of my passes a woman filling out a comment card stopped me and asked for my name. I told her adding, "I hope it's something good!" Before landing I was handed two comment cards. When I finally got a chance to take a look at them after the passengers had deplaned I got a funny warm feeling in the cockles of my heart and I could feel my eyes well up.


The fact that a passenger would take time out to give me positive feedback, especially considering it was my first solo Hawker flight, meant the world to me. I immediately embarrassed myself by telling anyone who would listen. 

I was embarrassed, but unashamed. 

In the same way we are quick to criticize others, I believe we often criticize ourselves. We obsess over every flaw, every mistake and we consider it a faux pas to self-praise. I find myself in disagreement with that concept, although I am often guilty of it myself, with that. I am grateful to Rosalie and Pamela for their comments and I am proud of myself for providing good customer service. In addition the positive feedback has given me some much needed self-confidence. While I do think constantly remarking on your own awesomeness would definitely become a source of annoyance to just about everyone around you, occasionally patting yourself on the back seems like nourishment for self-esteem and maybe even the odd shout from the rooftops should be acceptable.

So here's a thought. The next time someone gives you great service, or goes that extra step for you, or does a good job... let them know! And if you get praise... embrace it! Roll around in it, let it pour over you and through you, let it settle to the core of you and immerse into the fibres of your being. You deserve it.