A Leadership Sandwich?

Have you ever heard the metaphor of the sandwich in regards to confronting a coworker? The idea is that you start and end the conversation with praise in order to make the negative bit easier to bear. But does this actually accomplish what is desired or needed?

In his article today on the Leadership Training blog, author Bill Stinnett wrote about the right way to deal with conflict.

The most damaging of all is that the team leader is teaching his or her team members to not hear the positive feedback. This is most noticeable in environments where the team leader does this all the time. What happens is that team members learn that any compliment, positive feedback, or praise is merely a prelude to criticism, judgment, or blame.

…If you want your team members to improve their performance, give them direct, clear, constructive feedback.

Clear feedback will avoid the confusion and likely incorrect interpretation of the mix of positive and negative that comes from the sandwich technique. Be assertive and approach the problem with confidence that you can find a solution.

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