This is a very popular term, but for those of you who are unaware, a compliment sandwich is when you praise something an employee has done well, then follow it up with critical feedback, then apply more praise. You are “Sandwiching” the criticism between praise. Why is this method not preferred?
When an individual does this often, the person on the receiving end could feel like you are being insincere. This then can lead that person to feel insecure anytime you start a conversation by giving them praise, leading them to brace themselves for what criticism they believe is to come their way. Letting your employees have this fear or anxiety every time you approach them for a conversation can make them hesitant to speak up when they have questions or need advice. What should you do instead?
- Provide Feedback Regularly.
Doing this makes feedback less intimidating. If you rarely give feedback, when it is provided to the employee, it can feel like a big event or as if they messed something up that they shouldn’t have. Providing it regularly will minimize the fear as if they are failing and view it as you are trying to help them achieve their goals faster.
- Do Not Put Feedback Off
Feedback is more effective when it is given right away. The more time that passes, the more awkward it can be for both parties involved when the conversation is finally had.
- Be Clear and Specific.
Often times, managers give feedback in a vague sense rather than being specific about where they would like to see change. An example could be; If one of the managers is running meetings in a way you are dissatisfied with, do not come out and tell them they need to restructure the meetings without giving specific examples. For instance, you might say, “When conducting meetings, I’d like you to make sure that we do not rush through topics. Allow a conversation or feedback from your team if warranted.”
- Make it a Two-Way Conversation.
Feedback should never be a monologue; it should be conducted in a way that your employee feels it brought about in an environment where they feel they can speak on the matter and ask questions. Your employees’ input can be useful. Getting their opinion or thought process can create a solution that neither of you thought about.