Giving Feedback: Say Goodbye To The But Sandwich

How to give feedback

If you are in any type of relationship you have at one point or another given feedback. You give feedback to your subordinates at work, you might give feedback to your friends, and you even give feedback to your significant other.

I can't tell you how many times people have suggested using the "compliment sandwich".  The compliment sandwich has been made extremely popular particularly in the media. It has been in Family Guy and Hart of Dixie. I hate to break your heart but Family Guy did not invent the compliment sandwich. Unfortunately it originated from actual practices in a work environment.

D. Morrow, my professor, really stressed to us that this is really a but (butt) sandwich. When you hear the compliment, you know the but is coming.... Putting another compliment after the but doesn't really help. It further diminishes the feedback. Giving someone a compliment sandwich is really anything but a compliment. To the listener it just sounds like you don't care.

Instead of the compliment sandwich, Dennis gave the class a really great feedback model. At first the model sounded really strange but after doing a demonstration in class it really made sense.  Again, I won't give the whole thing away as I really suggest people take his class.  No, I am not getting paid to promote his classes, I just believe that they are that good!

We learned to identify the behavior or action we see. Followed by saying what we think the action means and how it makes us feel. This model can be used for positive feedback also. In class, I volunteered to do an example for everybody.  I also forced my friend to volunteer, whoops.

I said to Joe: When I see you actively listening, I assume that you care and this makes me feel encouraged.

For a criticism you could say: When I see you arriving late to work everyday for the past 7 days, I assume you do not understand the importance of being on time. This makes me feel concerned.

For your relationship you could say: When you forget to give me something for Valentine's day, I assume you are not thinking about me. This makes me feel hurt.

Isn't this such a novel idea. I am not sure how I will apply this to my professional life as different work environments use different forms of feedback. However, I can really see how using this in my personal life will be of great benefit.