1 - Make more space for them
Ask "What do you think?" then keep quiet and pay attention. Bonus points for building on what the other person says. Try asking 'What do you need?' rather than offering solutions quickly.

2 - Do what you said you were going to do
If necessary don't offer to do as much. Wait a little. Prioritise thinking things through first. Over-promising is counter productive.

3 - Give focused praise
Be specific about what it is that you are praising. Generic 'you are great' messages can come over as fake and meaningless. Give specific examples of what you are praising them for. Show you mean it.

4 - Agree how to handle feedback in advance
Set terms of reference in advance for how you both will handle feedback. It will make it easier to deliver / receive when the time comes. 

The approaches below definitely work better if you agree in advance this is how you will give feedback. Agree your approach on a day when you won't need to use it. Then you can both try out your chosen model on an easier subject. Once you and the other person have the hang of it you can apply it on more important issues.

Two simple feedback models:

Plus Minus Equals
Offer feedback on what you would like to have:

+ more of
- less of
= stay the same

You can ask for feedback to be given to you using the same structure.

Scaling questions
Offer feedback on a scale. You could use a scale of 1 to 10 or maybe 1 to 5 or even 1 to 100. Whatever you choose use the scale to rate the the thing you are feeding back on. For example you could say "For me this was a 3 and I really needed a 4 or a 5". Or you could try asking "On a scale of 1 to 10 what would you rate this as?"

If you ask someone to give you feedback using a rating scale they tend to be very honest. Be ready to discuss the difference in in your respective scores and the gaps they reveal. Focus on keeping improvement realistic by asking "What would improve the score by just one point?" Here's more on scaling questions. The incremental improvement idea comes from the book Change Anything: The new science of personal success

Before you press send on an important message ask yourself one or more of the following questions. If you're not sure of (or don't like) your answers change your message before it goes out.

  • What do I want to have happen when they get this message?
  • How likely is it this message will deliver the outcome I want?
  • Does this message grow trust?
  • Am I giving answers before I have fully understood the situation?
  • Am I making promises that will be hard for me / them to keep?
  • Am I doing / have done what I said I would do?
  • Is there something I am not saying that really should be said?
  • What am I assuming? Could I be biased?
  • Can I make this message shorter, clearer and friendlier?

See also - Growing trust in a remote-working world

Graphics by  OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay