Six Pennies: A Tool for Positive Feedback

August 29 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Early in my corporate career, I had a great mentor and coach. He gave me feedback that I could improve my leadership role and the performance of those I'm leading by providing balanced and significantly more positive feedback. He asked me to keep six pennies in my left pocket. My job was to move each, one by one, over to my right pocket. I could only do this when I gave specific positive feedback on the observed desired behavior and made it sincere. There were many days I went home with six in my left pocket. Not because of undesired performance issues, but because I was busy or forgot.

Six Pennies: A Tool for Positive Feedback

Getting in the habit of the critical behavior of giving better and more frequent positive feedback can be difficult and takes time. The idea of six pennies was a tool provided to me as a young leader. What worked or works for you? Even better, what tools are you sharing with others as they become leaders of people?

"Make feedback normal. Not a performance review." — Ed Batista

"Positive reinforcement changes behavior for the better, while criticism stabilizes negative behaviors and blocks change." — Virginia H. Pearce






Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.