What My Niece Taught Me About Meaningful Feedback

There’s a simple tip that makes all the difference in employees feeling seen and appreciated for their unique contributions, and thus also more motivated and valuable to your organization. 

Recently I received an email from my niece who lives in Oregon.  I had sent her a birthday card for her 37th birthday.  I had included in the card a sticky pad that had her name, Angela, on it—just a little something to put in the card.     

She wrote me an email thanking me for the card and sticky pad and then wrote, “You have always given me such good gifts. I remember when I was about twelve and just getting into make-up and styling my hair.  You sent me a kit with hair care products and a towel.  It was a perfect gift, and I still have the towel!”  

She went on to write: “You also gave me a dragon kite that I had on my dorm room wall in college, and still have it.  It was one of the best gifts I ever received.”   

First of all, it took me a while to KIND OF remember these gifts that I’d sent her after all these years!  Second it would have been nice for her to have just said, “You always gave me such good gifts.”  But it brought tears to my eyes that she remembered SPECIFIC gifts I had given her over 25 years ago!   

In the same way, when we give positive thanks and appreciation to our employees, we want to be SPECIFIC.  It’s fine to say, “You do a good job”, but even more meaningful to tell them specific things they did well and the impact of what they did.   Now THAT’S meaningful feedback.  


Do your managers and supervisors need some guidance in how to give feedback and coaching to their employees? 

“Jan presented a tremendous, well put together methodology that will have a real impact on my team. Looking forward to implementation of these good ideas.”

“Refreshing to see actions that can be taken rather than just concepts.  Many clear next steps.”

To request information about a Leadership Academy to build your managers’ skills, click here.