Spa Professionals Guild

Need to deliver negative feedback to a staff member ? READ THIS!


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Watch this video before diving in!

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 managers.  They either avoid it completely or rely on others to handle it.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about reprimanding or correcting behavior or providing difficult feedback when a member of staff needs it.

So, I have a solution and it’s delivering a “PRAISE SANDWICH”. Before I unpack that for you, let’s start with why YOU as the manager, and no one else, must provide the feedback.

  • To avoid confusion as to who to answer to/who the staff member reports to
  • Respect is earned if the feedback is done fairly and by following this system
  • Your relationship with your staff must involve the good and bad. How you deal with tough situations determines how great the good times will be
  • A training and coaching opportunity exists at every reprimand/feedback session
  • 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 and in the correct manner.

    So let me show you how to perform a “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. 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. 

You need to find two very genuine 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”

Begin with a positive – nice fresh slice of bread

  • Put the negative in the middle – slightly old filling – doesn’t taste good!
  • End on a positive – lovely slice of fresh bread again!

Result – the filling that would taste awful on its own doesn’t taste so bad sandwiched in the lovely fresh bread!


(FRESH SLICE OF BREAD) “Jeniffer, wow, well done on your retail today.  You simply outdid youself with a ratio of 60%, that’s incredible and you’ve broken your record.  How did you do that?  What did you do different?

Therapist:  Oh thanks – I really worked my planner today and spoke into each of my clients pain points offering them solutions to all the problems they presented to me.  I guess I listened a lot more today than normal because you know how I love to talk to my clients. 

Manager:  (SLIGHTLY OLD FILLING) yes I do know how much you love to talk.  Well, maybe listening more is a great technique right?  Were you not so talkative because of how you arrived at work today? 

Therapist:  What do you mean?

Manager: (SLIGHTLY OLD FILLING) Well, you arrived late with no make up on and not in the best mood.  It definitely affected the team morale and you know the policy when it comes to arriving late and with no make up. Yet, you went on to break your retail record!  A total contrast 

Therapist: Oh yes, I am so sorry I was late and in a foul mood this morning, I didn’t sleep well and am a little worried about my finances.

Manager:  (FRESH SLICE OF BREAD) I’m sorry you didn’t sleep well, perhaps it has something to do with the financial situation you are worried about. Would you like to talk about it and see if I can help with some ideas maybe?  Can you see how you influence the team morale though?  How do you think you can change or improve on this behaviour going forward?  I am sure you will have nights where you don’t sleep well again.

Therapist:  I really do need to make a conscious effort to ensure that my mood when I come to work is positive and energetic and not put my problems onto everyone else.  I also should have set my alarm instead of relying on waking up like I normally do. It wont happen again, I’m really sorry.  With regards to chatting about finances, I’m going to try sort this out on my own and if by next week I haven’t found a solution, I will  speak to you up on your offer.

Manager: (FRESH SLICE OF BREAD)Thank you for agreeing to put in some effort as it relates to your mood and morale, especially with the rest of the team.  I really value you in the business and it’s so brilliant to have you here, especially when you are happy and positive.  Please don’t leave worries for too long without speaking about them. Sometimes getting ideas from other perspectives is all you need to fix some challenges.  I am here anytime you need to speak. Well done again on your retail it was something spectacular to see!!! 

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 the trouble 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 behavioral 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 looking for the things that people do right!

Like what you hear?  We dedicate a whole chapter in our Business Management Training Course to effective communication, active listening and the importance of delegating with so many more effective techniques and ideas on how to manage staff differently to get the results you NEED for your business.

Join our growing community of global members and make a decision to invest in your business growth.  Enroll for our next course starting soon by simply clicking here and completing the registration.  Don’t wait, do it today!

See you soon!
Marisa xxx

Spa Professionals Guild is now Wellness Professionals Club.


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