Why you should eat a Criticism Sandwich

criticism sandwich
Image from Rightattitudes.com

This is not a technique they teach at Subway. It requires no meats, cheeses or special sauce, only consideration for someones feelings. Look, no one likes bad news, no one likes to hear what they have done wrong. So the manner in which the critique is given means a lot towards getting the desired results. (I have the remember I said this next time my husband forgets to clean up after himself.)

The Sandwich Technique is a way to approach having to give someone negative feedback. The criticism is like the meat and cheese of the sandwich, which is then sandwiched between two positive comments. (Sesame seeds are optional) Feedback in this manner softens the negative, sometimes harsh criticism, making it more palatable between two pillows of doughy praise.

Critics of this technique say it is not stern enough the get the desired effect and change behavior. But really, who eats just meat on a sandwich? It is usually to salty, tough and unappetizing by itself. It generally doesn’t go down well. Such is the same with negative criticism.

To me this technique is a gem for dealing with difficult people in an honest respectful way. However, in my experience it is used infrequently in the workplace. Employees and middle managers are met with a barrage of things they have done wrong. This creates a hopeless, demoralizing environment and a less motivated productive person. Self criticism or by ones family and friends can work similarly.report

This Sandwich Method comes home when used with family and friends to deliver bad new or when putting up necessary boundaries. It still respects their feelings and presents the information in the most positive way possible. Mostly, I have been on the receiving end of this technique. As someone who wears their heart on their sleeve it really helped me to put the criticize in perspective, take it in stride and not over-analyse.

Maybe some would say this is a Pollyanna approach to giving feedback. Personally, I have more respect, appreciation and value in feedback given to me in this manner. It helps me to curb my own self doubt and causes a much more thoughtful reaction. Which might in turn illicit an effectual behavior change. It helps to focus on the actual issue and not take it personal or blow it out of proportion.

Hey, no one is perfect. We are all a work in progress. Even if it is not what we want to hear, honest thoughtful criticism given in this way is essential to become out best self.

Your thoughts???