Feedback Sandwich: 7 Pros and Cons to Consider - Deepstash
How To Give And Receive Constructive Criticism

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Giving constructive criticism: What is a feedback sandwich?

Giving constructive criticism: What is a feedback sandwich?

A feedback sandwich is a method of feedback where positive feedback serves as a cushion to negative feedback. Generally, a manager or superior delivers positive feedback. Then, they deliver critical or constructive feedback and close with positive feedback.

There are three components — or ingredients — to a feedback sandwich:

  • Praise
  • Negative feedback
  • Praise.

But here’s the problem with feedback sandwiches: they’re confusing and possibly not effective.


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Pros of the feedback sandwich

  • In some situations, it can soften the impact of negative feedback. But it’s important to note that this really only works if the two parties are clearly communicating.
  • For the person giving feedback, it can make it easier to give negative feedback.   Basically, it can help the feedback giver feel better about giving negative feedback.
  • It helps to end the meeting or conversation on a positive note.  It focuses the closing of the conversation on what the person is doing well in this particular role or situation. 


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Cons of the feedback sandwich

  • It can build more tension and confusion between managers and direct reports. The feedback sandwich lends itself to a reactive approach as opposed to proactive coaching. If you’re receiving a feedback sandwich, it’s likely that you haven’t asked for it.
  • It isn’t culturally inclusive. The feedback sandwich operates on a very Western and, arguably, American -style of communication.
  • It can create more anxiety for your employees. They know when there’s a little dance around the elephant in the room.
  • It can encourage bad listening habits. An employee can choose to only focus on the positive (even if they did hear the negative).


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Should you use the feedback sandwich method to give constructive criticism? Here’s everything you need to know.


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