Why I Hate the Sandwich Technique for Delivering Feedback

Why I Hate the Sandwich Technique for Delivering Feedback (downloadable pdf) by Art Petty from his blog.  Short blog against the sandwich, with alternative suggestions. Easy on the mayo.


5 Reasons Why the Sandwich Technique is a Truly Bad Practice:

  1. It is a crutch that is solely for the benefit of the giver, not the receiver.
  2. It obfuscates the real message.
  3. It confuses the receiver by watering down the key message.
  4. It destroys the value of positive feedback by linking it with the negative.  Don’t forget that positive feedback is a powerful tool for reinforcing the right behaviors and the sandwich technique devalues this tool.
  5. It is insulting to the receiver and borderline deceitful.  “Bob, you did a great job on XYZ, but… .”  It’s like a pat on the back followed by a sucker punch followed by another pat on the back.

My guidance:

  • Overcome your fear of delivering constructive feedback by planning your discussions, and importantly, planning and practicing your discussion openers by getting politely and clearly to the point.
  • Follow the single-behavior/single discussion rule.
  • Ensure that you are focusing on the behavioral issue
  • Link the issue to business impact
  • Identify the proper and required behavioral change
  • Jointly develop a plan to drive the change
  • Follow up to discuss progress and next steps.

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