Pitfalls of the Feedback Sandwich

Have you heard of the “feedback sandwich”? A feedback sandwich is an old technique for delivering critical or constructive feedback, where you sandwich the critical comment between two positive comments.  Here’s an example:

“Ted, great job on getting that project done on time. However, next time I need you to make sure to include Sherry in the loop – she has to make sure the main office is notified that the work has been processed. She got very frustrated that she wasn’t informed. Anyway – good work – I know it’ll be even better next time!”

How do you think Ted feels at the moment? Confused? Encouraged? Wondering if Sherry is mad at him, or if he needs to apologize? Was he told how to put Sherry in the loop?

The feedback sandwich is NOT a proper way to deliver either positive feedback, OR constructive feedback. It is simply a mixed message, and can do more damage to morale and motivation, and productivity, than anything else. Focus on the positive, make your point and stop.

Pitfalls of the Feedback Sandwich