June 7, 2024

Let’s Get Away From the “Feedback Sandwich”

Business Trends

Have you ever heard of or used the “feedback sandwich”? This method sandwiches one criticism between two positives.

The idea is to soften the bad news with an ego boost, but in practice, this method can be ineffective. Often, the person receiving the feedback is left feeling as though the positive comments are insincere, and may be generally unmotivated to make changes as a result. The person delivering the feedback may also overemphasize the positive, causing the negative feedback to be downplayed or missed altogether.

Offering feedback should aim to correct, redirect, or inspire positive change. Effective feedback delivery is a nuanced skill that anyone can learn and improve. There are several types of feedback we can practice:

  • Constructive: Aimed at improving skills or performance with specific and actionable suggestions for growth.
  • Positive: Acknowledges and reinforces good work/achievements to motivate and build confidence.
  • Developmental: Provides guidance on areas for improvement and future growth.
  • Performance: Evaluates an individual’s performance against goals or standards.

Why This Matters

Creating a culture of effective feedback promotes continuous learning, increases employee engagement, enhances teamwork, and ensures goal alignment and accountability. It can also strengthen relationships and open minds to new ideas.

While “feedback” focuses on assessing past performance and behaviors, the word “advice” looks toward the future, offering guidance and recommendations. Using the word “advice” can feel more honoring, as it implies a partnership and a shared goal of improvement. Advice tends to be more forward-thinking and constructive, creating a positive and proactive atmosphere for growth.

Next Steps

To create a culture of continuous improvement, practice active listening, separate facts from assumptions, and aim to build up rather than tear down. Feedback should be given in a way that makes people feel safe and believe you have their best interests at heart.

If you want to learn more about effective feedback, we highly recommend the e-book created by HubSpot called The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback. Click here to access this resource.

If you have feedback on any of our Eagle’s Perspectives emails, or advice on how we can serve you better going forward, please reach out to us. We value your thoughts.

Shannon McAllister
Director of Operations | shannon@eaglecom.ca