Do you remember being told to use the “sandwich” technique
when you needed to reprimand someone? Let me give you an
“Fred, I’m really pleased with how you’ve been progressing
since you joined us and you’re doing a great job. However
you’re not getting your reports in on time and we’re missing
deadlines. I’d like you to tighten up a bit on this.
Anyway,thanks for all you’ve done so far and keep up the
Have you ever said something along these lines? You probably
needed Fred to sort out his reporting but you didn’t want
to upset or demoralise him. The only problem is that Fred
not get the message. The importance of it may be seriously
He may hear it as, “Fred, you’re doing a brilliant job, you
just need to sort out the reporting bit but it’s not really
What happens then is, Fred continues to fail with his
The “sandwich” technique doesn’t work, it lets you off the
hook and it’s mealy mouthed. Be direct with your people and
they’ll respect you more for it. You are also much more
likely to get a change in behaviour.
If you are unhappy with some aspect of an employee’s
performance then you need to tell them so. The skill is in
doing it in a way that’s effective and doesn’t lower the
morale of the individual.
Firstly, it’s not acceptable to speak to your people just
when you’re unhappy about something. Tell them the good news
as well. As Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson say in
their book The One Minute Manager – “Catch people doing
something right” and tell them about it.
Some managers and employers still have this daft notion that
if people are doing things right then that’s what they’re
paid for and they don’t need complimented.
Ask almost any employee in Industries throughout the world
and they’ll tell you that they don’t feel appreciated by
When you notice someone doing something you do like, tell
them about it. When you notice them doing something you
don’t like, tell them about it. Whether it’s good news or
bad, the same rules apply.
Do it as soon as possible. Acknowledgement of a job well
done is not much good six months later. Also, if you don’t
immediately call someone’s attention to something you are
not happy about, then they’ll assume it’s okay. Either that
or they’ll think you didn’t notice or you don’t care.
Do it in private. Why is it that some managers still feel
it’s okay to reprimand someone in front of their colleagues?
Even the mildest rebuke can have a negative effect on
When you speak to the person use “I” messages. Say things
like “I liked the way you did that” or “I think there is
another way to do that.”
Avoid “You” messages such as “You’re doing great.” That can
come across as patronising or insincere. “You’re doing that
all wrong” may cause conflict, lower morale and may not sort
When your giving feedback, focus on one or two things.
You’ll only confuse the person if you run off a whole list
of attributes or misdemeanours.
Be specific about job behaviour, focus on what the person
did or didn’t do, don’t make a personal attack.
Allow time for the message to sink in and allow the person
to respond. You can then seek agreement as to what will
happen in the future. If the person does not agree to take
corrective action then you need to move to another level.
When they do agree to take corrective action then make sure
that you monitor it and give encouraging feedback.
Being direct with your people is better for you, better for
them and better for you business, so save your “sandwiches”
Discover how you can generate more business by motivating
Alan Fairweather is the author of “How to get More Sales
by Motivating Your Team” This book is packed with practical
things you can do to get the best out of your people .
Click here now