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The Sandwich Technique Defined
The sandwich technique can be defined quite simply. It's used by project managers who must give a worker negative feedback or bad news. How it's implemented is straightforward, and it's a great tool for managers who are new or who are nervous about giving criticism. It's designed to make the situation easier for all parties to handle.
The manager starts off by stating a positive observance about the employee and his work for the company. It could be something as simple as reinforcing how much the manager appreciates and values the work done by the employee or a great aspect of his personality that enhances the work environment for all.
After the first positive message is given, the negative feedback is told. This could be anything. It could be problems with work performance, or it could be about no further tolerance for tardiness. Perhaps it's regarding an employee's bad attitude. Anything that needs correcting can be addressed by using the sandwich feedback technique. An open conversation can then be had.
The manager then concludes the meeting by providing another positive feedback. This should be something more encouraging than the initial opening comment. It should let the employee know that, although his bad traits are observed, his good ones are as well.
The manager should also expand upon this positivity by stating the hopeful outcome of the meeting that he desires. For instance, as an example, we will state that the meeting was regarding an employee's continued missing of the company meetings. Although all work was fulfilled, missing the meetings was making others talk. The manager should explain that he has faith that the employee will start attending all the meetings of a company. Provide further positive reinforcement by stating that the mandatory attendance fulfilled will be rewarded with a greater understanding of the company and the acknowledgement of being a team player by all members of managers. Also explain how it can also help him connect with co-workers who will then no longer feel a bit resentful for how he has gotten away with ignoring them.
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Tips for Using the Sandwich Technique
Stay on track. It's very easy to get distracted if you're using a technique that has multiple levels to fulfill. In fact, everybody loves positive feedback. When you present the first positive aspect of the technique, the employee may unknowingly attempt to take the conversation down a whole other path that further expands on the great things being accomplished. Stay on track by firmly and positively acknowledging the accomplishment yet another time, then continue on with the mission of the meeting.
Defensiveness may still rise, even within this technique. If the employee feels that he is being shorted or manipulated by the previous positive feedback, he may argue with you on the topic. Instead, stay professional. Let your frustrations be said in a calm way. Continue to stay on track with the planned technique. Although it may be difficult to then state something positive, it is the wisest move. Reaffirm your stand on the employee's defense. Although you are stating you don't agree with what he wants, you can be sincere in acknowledging the positive things he's done that you do see.