Cut the carbs when giving feedback

One of the skills that new managers/leader need to know is giving feedback. One popular technique of giving feedback is the Sandwich model. The sandwich model works like this, a positive feedback, constructive feedback and finishing with a positive feedback. This technique is used in Toastmaster speaking program as a way for evaluators to frame critique of a speak. This is popular technique because delivering constructive feedback can be considered to be challenging. It is challenging because delivering constructive feedback can feel like you are criticising someone’s work. I believe it is only bad if you criticise without giving any guidance on how they can improve.

Over time managing teams, I have grown to dislike the sandwich model. Sugar coating feedback with the positive feedback weakens the constructive feedback that you want that person to improve. I used to hesitate giving negative feedback. Why? I was scared of hurting that person’s feeling. It is can be a negative experience if you are just putting them down. It is all about framing the conversation. Constructive feedback is not about stating the area for improvement but also the first step in how to improve in that area.

  • What is going wrong?
  • Where did you expect that person to be?
  • Do they have any self awareness of the same problem?
  • Where do you want them to be?
  • Where do they want to be?
  • What is the roadmap to the next level?
  • What are the steps for small improvements?
  • What is the next checkpoint/goal?

Our time is limited. We work 9 to 5 (or sometimes more), in fact we probably spend more time at work than at home. We should make the time at work count. Be effective and be helpful. Praise people for the good work that they do often and make the time for improvements count.

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