This take on the actual meaning of positive-spin comments in the context of school reports is well worth a read.
It made me wonder how many times in the workplace we fudge the issue, and avoid what we mean to say because we can’t find the right words?
And working with several people over the last month or so around skills required for giving feedback and having difficult conversations, I’ve heard so many talk about the usefulness of the “feedback sandwich” (positive comment + negative comment + positive comment).
Honestly? I think the sandwich idea is past its sell-by date. There are better ways for getting your message across, even when the situation seems challenging and awkward and uncomfortable.
Finding the words to say what’s on your mind is something I encourage people to do when I’m supporting them to develop and to raise their self-awareness, and preparation and practise seem key to achieving this. And remember – there are many who walk amongst us who have been up at night with that nagging feeling in the pit of their stomach caused by knowing they’ve got to “have that chat” tomorrow morning with someone they like about something they’d rather not say.
So perhaps an open sandwich idea could be more appealing – the layer of bread being the foundation of describing what’s wrong/why you need to talk/why you’re raising the issue, and the topping making up the ingredients that are going to make change happen.
Yes, I like that. Tasty.