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End of the Sandwich Method


Tommy Van de Wouwer believes that most people see through the “sandwich method” and don’t accept the feedback well. As you may know the sandwich method demands starting every negative feedback with a first layer of positive feedback, followed by the negative point you want to make and ending with a positive one again. I believe the method is easy to see trough, the receiving party remembers the negative feedback and does not believe you really appreciate the positive points. It is probably better to make feedback more of a conversation instead of a monologue where you discuss the negative point and look at it from both sides. Letting the receiver comment on this and propose how he/she want to handle it is way more productive. It should be more a working point then a negative feedback except when it’s really not acceptable… Then it is better to be blunt and honest about how you feel about something or what the other did wrong. The positive feedback you did not use to “coat” the negative one can be given at another moment, when you actually mean it and the receiver will really appreciate it for what it is, a compliment.

Ken added: This article hit the nail on the head. And, along with the thought of keeping negative comments in a meeting separate from positive comments, I think the old adage of criticize in private, praise in public goes a long way to positive employee engagement. I worked at a company a few years back where there was no performance review process, just annual salary increases. I had an employee that was going through a very bad stretch of performance (in a work at home situation no less). I went on the web, picked a format for a performance review and completed it. The employee could be somewhat volatile at times, not seriously, but I wasn't sure how he would react. I scheduled a meeting for the two of us, gave him the review, he read it - and got tears in his eyes. I asked him if I had interpreted anything incorrectly, he replied that I was accurate. I tore up the review in front of him and that's as far as it went. His performance improved dramatically and our relationship was much stronger. But I can only believe that had I started and ended with compliments, the interpretation and the reaction might have been very different.

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Subject Matter

Emotional Maturity

About the Contributor:

Attributed Author

Tommy Van de Wouwer

Tommy Van de Wouwer lives in Belgium and is an IT project manager and team leader for support delivery during the last 15 years. He holds an active PMI PMP certificate and believes in life long learning. After his Bachelor degree in information management he earned associate degrees in IT development, IT network management and corporate communication, followed by an ongoing Executive Master IT management at the Antwerp Management school. The main focus of Tommy is on collaboration and (think) out of the box solutions, thus delivering more value to the end customers.
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