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this image depicts that feedback sandwiches should not be used.

Stop Giving Feedback Sandwiches

Let's look at why you need to stop giving feedback sandwiches.

Feedback sandwiches, also known as the "compliment sandwich," are a popular method for delivering feedback in the workplace. The idea behind a feedback sandwich is to start with a positive comment, followed by constructive criticism, and end with another positive statement. While the intention behind a feedback sandwich is to soften the blow of negative feedback and make it more palatable, research has shown that they are actually ineffective and can even backfire.

One problem with feedback sandwiches is that they can come across as insincere or manipulative. When constructive feedback is sandwiched between two positive comments, the positive comments are used as a shield to protect the giver of the feedback from any negative consequences. This can make the recipient feel like the positive comments are not genuine and that the person giving the feedback is more concerned with their own image than with helping the recipient improve.

Another problem with feedback sandwiches is that they can dilute the impact of constructive feedback. When constructive feedback is sandwiched between two positive comments, it can be less noticeable and less memorable. This means that the recipient may not fully absorb the constructive feedback and may not take it as seriously as they should.

So, what can you do instead of using a feedback sandwich? Here are a few tips:

  1. Be specific and direct: Instead of using a feedback sandwich, it's more effective to be specific and direct with your feedback. Rather than sandwiching the constructive feedback between positive comments, clearly state the behavior or action you would like the recipient to change.
  2. Focus on the behavior, not the person: When giving feedback, it's essential to focus on the behavior or action rather than attacking the person's character or identity. This helps the recipient feel like the feedback is about improving their work rather than about them.
  3. Use "I" statements: Rather than making accusations or judgments, use "I" statements to express your feelings and observations. For example, "I feel frustrated when deadlines are not met" or "I noticed that the report was submitted late." This helps to make the feedback feel more objective and less personal.

You may have noticed I don't use the word 'Criticism." I believe that feedback is NOT a criticism. It is feedback with the goal of improvement.

In summary, feedback sandwiches are an ineffective way to deliver constructive feedback. Instead, be specific and direct, and use "I" statements to focus on the behavior rather than the person. Doing so will make you more likely to help the recipient understand and act on your feedback. This will lead to improved performance and better results.

If you want to learn more about feedback, check out this blog post.

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