Put the Sandwich Down!

Stop! Put the sandwich down. No, I’m not giving you nutritional advice, and I’m certainly not discouraging you from enjoying the sandwich you might be eating at this very moment. I’m talking about the type of feedback you are probably giving – you know, “the sandwich method.”

Something you possibly learned decades ago, where you know you’ve got to deliver some constructive feedback so you bring the person in, you kick it off with a positive note, maybe some praise, you end it on that same level of positivity, and sandwiched in between is that negative feedback; that difficult conversation. And it’s wrapped so beautifully that everybody leaves there feeling amazing. THAT is the sandwich I’m talking about. Put the feedback sandwich down now!

The goal of delivering negative feedback and having that difficult conversation is to course-correct; to get something to change, so that you have a better outcome and better results.

Yet, that message is muddied, if not completely lost, when it’s delivered in the sandwich method. In fact, when the person leaves your conversation and the last thing they heard was that praise, that positive feedback, that’s what they’re thinking about. They probably can’t even recall what the middle part of the sandwich had going on.

So your goal’s are not going to be met; they’re not even going to leave the conversation and make a change. You might as well not have even delivered any of that feedback, as it is now lost upon them. This is why I am encouraging you to change how you deliver your feedback. Two things that you’re going to do: number one, the praise.

You are going to be the type of leader or peer, colleague, parent, or spouse, (whatever it is, this goes professionally and personally) who delivers praise on an ongoing, consistent basis. Whenever you catch somebody doing the right thing, you’re going to acknowledge it.

You are going to be that positive person, recognizing when somebody does something good, and in the moment you’re going to give them that positive feedback.

If you’re doing that on a consistent, regular basis, then the employee already knows where they stand with you, where they stand with their job, and personally where they stand with you. They already feel good about the work or what they’re contributing, so when it’s time to deliver the feedback or have that difficult conversation, you’re going to schedule that time and focus only on that.

There’s no need to sandwich it with praise, because you’ve been delivering the praise all along. Now you’re going to stay focused on what needs to be discussed to have change happen. What is the information that this person needs to recognize or acknowledge? Have the conversation and open the dialogue, so that we can course-correct.

And doing that in a way that is very collaborative; they’re already going to come in open and receptive to that conversation, because you’ve been delivering the good stuff all along. Stay focused in that conversation, so when they leave they know exactly what’s expected; they are clear on what the message was, what the next steps should be, and ultimately what the deliverable or the results should be at the end. So ditch that feedback sandwich and start fresh!

I know you can be the leader who delivers the praise consistently.

We don’t want people walking into your office or in a conversation with you fearful. They’re already going to know that they’re respected, and they’re equally going to respect you and receive the difficult information in a constructive way to move forward. Comment below, I want you to say, “I’m in! I’m ditching, stopping, and putting down that feedback sandwich today.”

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