The Feedback Sandwich – tasty morsel or bitter pill?


The Feedback Sandwich is a method of telling your people what you think of their performance, in a way that’s easy for them to hear.

The Feedback Sandwich Technique

So, how does it work? It’s simple really. Essentially you structure your feedback into three parts like this:

  1. Tell them something you thought they did really well
  2. Tell them where they could make improvement
  3. Tell them something else you thought they did really well

Here’s an example:

“You did a really great job producing the minutes of the last committee meeting, It would be better in future though if you didn’t use abbreviations as some of the newer members didn’t know what they meant. Thanks again though for producing them so quickly.’

Sounds OK? Well it depends on how well it’s given and how open the receiver really is to the improvement hidden between the positives. Don’t waffle and get distracted by giving too much information – give it to them straight – most people just want to know what you need them to do

If there’s too much emphasis placed on the positives, the recipient won’t hear the areas for improvement. Make sure you repeat what it is you want them to do differently and offer them support - if appropriate agree a milestone for the improvement such as the next time they perform the task or the next performance review

New managers are often giving feedback to ex team-mates and feel uncomfortable ‘criticising’ them. Make sure they get the development they need to be able to offer constructive feedback

Don’t under any circumstances ‘make up’ positives to sweeten the negative. It undermines the whole process and will confuse the recipient

Leadership Lessons From The Vikings Part 4 – Keep The Camp In Order


In this, our final post in the series of Viking inspired leadership lessons, we turn our focus to keeping things ‘in order’

Keep things tidy and organised – great leaders lead and organise others, they don’t do other peoples’ jobs for them. Make sure you’re not blurring the lines – decide who does what and let them get on with it

Arrange enjoyable activities which strengthen the group - it’s been said so many times but happy people really are more productive – that pre-Christmas ‘wind-down’ just might be the best time to help everyone let off some steam. Reward someone who’s worked hard with the chance to organise a social event which everyone wants to attend – but remember, as the ’boss’ you might want to leave a bit early!

Make sure everybody does useful work - ensure the work your people do is linked directly to each of your business objectives – if it can’t be tracked then why are people doing it?

Consult all members of the group for advice - don’t restrict your sounding board to ‘the usual suspects’ – widen your network to include people from all levels of the business – after all they are probably nearer the customer than you are, and you never know where the next big idea may come from



Leadership Lessons From The Vikings Part 3 – Be A Good Merchant

vikingsFind out what the market needs - its crazy to invest time and money in a new product or service until you’ve asked people if they really want it.  Dont limit the analysis to existing customers, go out and ask the people who dont currently buy from you – you may find you have ‘untapped’ markets out there

Do not promise what you can’t keep – it’s tempting to say yes to every demand a customer makes, but beware –  if you can’t deliver they will find out and wont come back

Do not demand overpayment – don’t charge more than the market rate – customers will quickly start to feel ripped off and the you’ll never get them back

Arrange things so that you can return – don’t fall out or ‘bite back’ with a difficult customer or supplier – nobody relishes the thought of trying to rebuild a difficult relationship

It’s not what you achieve that’s important, it’s what you OVERCOME to achieve it

overcomeAchievement – hitting targets, exceeding targets even, has long been associated with great managers and leaders. But what happens when they fail? (because given time they will – they’re human).

Many find themselves demoted or scanning the jobs section without being given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve.  Surely the ability to learn from what went wrong, ‘bounce back’ and improve is a trait we should expect in all our managers and leaders.

Leadership Lessons From The Vikings Part 2 – Be Prepared


Keep weapons in good condition - ensure your people have all the knowledge and skills they need to be effective

Keep in shape – benchmark yourself and your organisation regularly against competitors and other organisations of your size and stage - devise plans to address any shortfalls

Find good battle comrades – surround yourself with good people who can act as critical friends – some of their wisdom may rub off

Agree on important points – don’t impose new strategies or initiatives on people – ensure there’s commitment at every level by including people in decision making

Choose one chief – make one person ultimately responsible for each key area of operation, ensuring communication and decision making is effective

Leadership Lessons From The Vikings Part 1 – Be Brave And Agressive


Be direct - people need to know what to expect from you, and what you expect of them

Grab all opportunities - you make your own luck, it’s a numbers game after all

Use varying methods of attack – if one strategy doesn’t work, try something else

Be versatile & agile – be ready to change, and change quickly – it keeps you one step ahead of the competition

Attack one target at a time – don’t let your people be exposed to ‘initiative overload’ – one thing at a time

Don’t plan everything in detail – leave room for unexpected or ‘emerging strategies’

Use top quality weapons – hire the best people you can find and do your best to keep them