Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback – The Sandwich Approach

Phil Holberton

Phil Holberton

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Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback - The Sandwich Approach
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How to Deliver and Receive Feedback That Gets Results

As a leader, you know the importance of clear communication. But when it comes to constructive feedback, things can get tricky. How do you deliver feedback in a way that’s helpful and motivating without crushing morale or damaging relationships?

The answer lies in the art of the “feedback sandwich.” This technique involves layering positive reinforcement around the area for improvement, creating a more palatable and productive conversation.

Crafting the Perfect Feedback Sandwich:

The key to both delivering and receiving feedback effectively lies in approaching the conversation with a positive and growth-oriented mindset. This means fostering a sense of trust and psychological safety. When the recipient feels respected, they’re more receptive to feedback and open to learning.

Active listening is crucial for both parties. The giver should pay close attention to understand the message is landing, while the receiver should listen without interrupting to allow for the full delivery of the feedback.

Giving Constructive Feedback:

Start with a compliment to acknowledge the recipient’s strengths and efforts. Focus on behavior, not personality, and be specific with actionable suggestions for improvement. Offer support and end on a positive note, reiterating your confidence in their abilities.

Receiving Constructive Feedback:

Listen actively, ask questions for clarification, and acknowledge the feedback with gratitude. Take time to reflect objectively and consider the validity of the points raised. Develop a plan to address the areas for improvement.


  • Timing is Key: Deliver feedback when emotions aren’t running high. Choose a private and calm environment.
  • Focus on Growth: The goal is to help the recipient develop, not to punish them.
  • Be Respectful: Always maintain a professional and respectful demeanor.

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CATEGORIES: CEO, Change, Collaboration, Organization, Team Management

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