What a week! I have never had so many phone calls and messages asking for help and guidance on a topic that clearly affects many, many managers. Some managers feel they know exactly how to handle it whilst others shy away from it and delegate it to others to handle.
What am I talking about?
The perceived arduous task of reprimanding or correcting behavior /giving negative feedback as it relates to your staff members. I say “perceived” because it doesn’t have to be arduous. All you need to change your mind about this task is to master the praise sandwich.
Before I share more about our famous “PRAISE SANDWICH” technique, let’s start with why
1. YOU as the manager, and no one else, must do the reprimanding/feedback.
2. To avoid confusion as to who to answer to/who the staff member reports to.
3. Respect is earned if the reprimand/feedback is done in a correct and fair manner.
4. Your relationship with your staff has to include the good, the bad and the ugly. How you deal with the bad and the ugly determines how great the good times could potentially be!
5. A training and coaching opportunity exists at every reprimand/feedback.
6. The lines of communication are opened.
So, I think a mindset change is called for here. Perhaps you can turn the reprimand/feedback into a positive by seeing all the opportunities that will arise from dealing with it in the correct manner.
Now onto the valuable skills transference. Time to master the “Praise Sandwich”!
With this technique you will find that your staff accept your comments and observations about a subject much more readily than if you were to take a more direct approach. You will see that they do not take a defensive stance to your feedback, which would create a barrier to effective listening and communication. The result of the praise sandwich is that the person who you are giving feedback to remains open to your comments, and actively listens.
Here’s how it works;
You need to find two very genuinely, positive things to give as feedback to the person who you are talking to. You then “sandwich” the more unpalatable feedback/reprimand that you have to give within the “praise sandwich”.
1. Begin with a positive – nice fresh piece of bread
2. Put the negative in the middle – slightly old piece of meat – doesn’t taste all that good.
3. End on a positive – lovely piece of fresh bread again!
Result – the stale meat doesn’t taste so bad in the nice fresh bread!
Let’s look at an example:
Manager: (FRESH SLICE OF BREAD) “Samantha, I was particularly impressed with the way you looked after Mrs. Jones this morning. You were so positive and upbeat. She seemed so sad when she came into the spa and after her treatment with you she seemed to be walking on air! What did you say to her?
Therapist: Oh thanks – yes, I tried to give her some positive energy and make her feel good about herself, I complimented her on her new haircut and gave her the best treatment I could.
Manager: (OLD PIECE OF MEAT) Yes, I agree ,she was a changed person. Mind you Mary, I was rather surprised, especially after your behaviour this morning?
Therapist: Oh yes? What behaviour was that?
Manager: (OLD PIECE OF MEAT) When you arrived this morning you were late and also, you were in such an awful mood and that really affected the team atmosphere. Yet, you seem to have managed to make Mrs Jones feel on top of the world?
Therapist: Oh yes, I am so sorry I was late and in a foul mood this morning, I had an argument with my boyfriend as I was leaving home.
Manager: (FRESH SLICE OF BREAD) Well, it was such a contrast to your mood this morning. Do you see how you can influence people’s moods either passively or negatively? What could you do to avoid having a negative impact on the rest of the team in future Samantha?
Therapist: I could leave my troubles at the front door, which I know I should, and try to be a more positive influence on the team? I should focus on making sure I have a smile on my face before walking through the door
Manager: (FRESH SLICE OF BREAD) I agree, that would be great Samantha, thank you. I especially value your usual positive attitude, it’s great to be around you when you are on top form, as you were with Mrs Jones. See you tomorrow and thank you for your contributions today – congratulations on reaching your retail targets too!
Therapist: Thank you, yes, I feel great after such a brilliant revenue day.
Why not try this going forward. Literally sandwich the reprimand or negative feedback between two positives and see how it works.
Take some time to think about the situation before approaching the team member and make sure that the conversation begins and ends on a positive note.
This way of communicating will enable you to deal with small behavioural corrections quickly, without confrontation, and will also help to motivate your team. A praise sandwich won’t work unless you find two genuinely, positive comments to one negative.
Advice – try doing this at the end of a shift, if possible, and always look for the things that people do right!
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Stay OBSESSED tribe!
Much love, Marisa