Travel the Two-way Street

Whether it’s responding to a request or coaching an employee through a learning process, giving and receiving feedback is important in generating t…

Anytime a person speaks or acts, there’s an opportunity to give feedback. We show we’re listening and that the speaker’s contributions are important by providing feedback. The ultimate objective in doing so is to strengthen understanding, trust, engagement, and progress toward meeting objectives.

Whether it’s responding to a request or coaching an employee through a learning process, giving and receiving feedback is important in generating the results that we need to be successful in the workplace. One way this can be achieved is by providing genuine constructive comment or encouraging feedback.

Try putting into action Principle #2 from Dale Carnegie’s Principles for Strengthening Relationships and Building Trust: “Give honest, sincere appreciation.” The success of every job demands cooperation and effort from others. People contribute to our success as much as we contribute to theirs. Feedback is a measure of appreciation.

Show appreciation to others by offering feedback

Recognize strength
Identify a positive quality that you see in an employee. Then let that employee know why that strength is important and relevant. This will encourage your employee, and reassure him that he is making real progress toward his objectives.

Keep it brief
Try to keep your feedback to 20 seconds or less. Being short and concise will allow your message to be more powerful, and you’ll have your employee’s complete attention during this time. You don’t need to water down your feedback with a long-winded response.

Focus on the person—and not yourself
Remember that you’re trying to build confidence within your employee. Shine the light on the person to whom you’re providing feedback—and not on yourself.

Get the group to respond
When possible, provide opportunities for a group to encourage its members. Hearing from a peer will help boost an employee’s confidence.

Ensure the response is person-centered
Try not to reiterate what the person already said or did. Instead, you want to highlight strength. Relate that strength or quality to the person’s role and the impact she makes. Back up your strength-centered comment with evidence.

Let’s continue to be in the business of building others in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

For more ideas on improving leadership, employee engagement, and organizational performance, visit, or contact Dan Handley at 1-800-518-3253 or


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