Offering feedback can be tricky at any level. For CEOs and other high-level business leaders, feedback can mean a great deal to managers and those employees that they supervise.

Here’s a look at some methods for business leaders to offer constructive feedback that motivates the employees around them.

Be involved beyond direct reports.

In a recent story for Harvard Business Review, Douglas R. Conant writes about his methods of feedback while he was CEO of Campbell Soup. First, he used a Gallup study to measure engagement by the company’s leadership team. The results were poor.

One of the methods Conant used to improve it was what he calls “One-Over-Ones.” These were efforts to get communication moving from the top down. So he would be present in feedback sessions, as would the human resources chief, a senior manager and that manager’s direct report (the subject of the feedback).

“These meetings took place after the senior manager had already completed the traditional performance review of their subordinate. [The human resources chief] and I would review the evaluation and then prepare to have an intimate discussion between the four of us. These were notably different than regular ‘performance reviews’ because they were top-line conversations focused on the development of the leaders; they were not tedious rundowns of specific tasks or objectives. The focus was leadership itself. ­­The benefits were tremendous in stimulating the engagement of our senior leaders.”

One of the benefits of this format, Conant writes, was emphasizing that everyone can grow and learn, no matter how successful or how high up the ladder they have climbed.

“No matter the level, all leaders need to further hone their skills, to stretch, to grow, to learn,” he says. “You can’t rely on past successes to propel you forward in a fiercely complex world. What’s more, many senior leaders want to continue their development but they don’t know how to make the time amid their extraordinarily demanding schedules — and their desire isn’t supported by the organization in any visible way, so it falls by the wayside. One-Over-Ones afforded high-level leaders at Campbell the rare opportunity to reflect on their leadership and engage in productive development conversations that helped them do their jobs better.”

Remember the purpose.

Giving employee feedback can have its challenges, especially in areas of improvement, but an ideal result would be for the employee to feel motivated to make positive changes. Going overboard on the negatives may make real problems worse. Anese Cavanaugh writes about this for

So you’ve given them feedback and now they’re lying on the ground in the fetal position sucking their thumb with no clue what to do with it,” she says. “This is not good feedback. Instead, you’ll want to watch your own intention, energy and presence as you give it to them. And then, you’ll want to stick around and be responsible for the impact of the feedback you just provided. Did it actually land? Does it make sense? How can you support them in integration? (Bonus points if you get feedback on your feedback; how you made them feel and if it was effective.)”

Be specific.

A common mistake business leaders can making in offering feedback is a lack of specificity. There should be scenarios and results to analyze, so prepare with notes and details, and have those examples ready. Giving vague or redundant simplifications won’t be much of a help, as Yael Bacharach writes for

“No hinting,” she says. “No generalizations. Be specific. Use concrete examples and make reference to specific events. Always refer back to items raised in your conversation. Don’t expect people to understand the meaning behind your words.”