Useful Tips

How to criticize subordinates correctly


Giving someone critical feedback, thus alluding to the person changing their behavior, is a delicate matter. To avoid the common problem of a defensive reaction, it is very important to be sure that you will approach this issue with understanding and attention to the feelings of another.

If everything is done correctly, the person you are contacting will take your opinion positively, which naturally will entail good results! One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to hide the educational device between other positive statements, like a “sandwich”. The instructions below describe a way to do this, whether it is difficulty with friends or parenting a child. A similar technique, compliments based on the “sandwich” principle, has similar steps. The “sandwich” feedback technique is most often used as coaching and support, while the related compliment technique is designed to mitigate or mask the necessary criticism.

“You did a really good job in your essay“ Handle People Honestly ”- it made a strong impression on everyone! For the future, it’s better not to call names of people who don’t accept your whole method. It’s great that you thought so carefully it's - you will benefit many people! "

  1. 1 Get ready: Do not rush into a situation without prior and careful thought and planning. A good plan is an instrument of success. Without it, you can easily go astray and lose control of the conversation. You must clearly understand what you want to say, and how you want to say it.
  2. 2 Praise - identify positive points: Find something meaningful among the actions of this person. It should be somehow connected with the educational technique (coaching technique) that you plan to conduct, and be in the recent past. For example, if all the white clothes in the washing machine turned pink due to the red shirt that this person threw in there, the phrase "I really appreciate you helping me with the laundry!"may be the start of a conversation.
  3. 3 Conduct an educational reception - present the facts: Now you have captured the attention of a person, and arranged him to perceive your words. Pause to let this feeling grow stronger, then go straight to coaching. Avoid the words "but"and "but next time"because they provoke a person to defend himself, which is exactly what you want to avoid. Speak directly and firmly, but never let yourself get angry and humiliate. Communication is a science, therefore, if you want to achieve positive results, you must behave scientific. “Let me teach you how to sort clothes so we don’t have to deal with a bunch of pink socks anymore.”"
  4. 4 Encourage and inspire - give a favorable forecast: When you conduct a coaching appointment, a person inevitably has a feeling of some emptiness. Do not leave communication at this point - such an unpleasant phenomenon must be eliminated quickly, but correctly. Mention the positive outcome of future attempts. The logical conclusion is the phrase that the person laid the foundation for a successful start (primary praise), and there are ways to improve this foundation (coaching), and a combination of these elements will give excellent results (encouragement and inspiration). "It's great to have one more pair of hands to help, we all will have more time for afternoon fights in video games!"
  5. 5 Return to this point later: to check for changes in behavior, you do not need to wait until the problem reappears, express a friendly curiosity and willingness to help, continue to push a person to change. The goal is the anchor of the positive nature of changes in human consciousness. If you leave the situation unattended, your educational moment may be forgotten. Without constant reinforcement, the process of "extinction" starts - the desired changes in behavior will not come about.

WikiHow “sandwich” feedback example

Here is an example of feedback using the sandwich method: such an answer could be given on the wikiHow talk page.

  1. 1 compliment: Thanks for patrolling the latest changes. I am amazed that you checked 400 edits today and prevented so much vandalism.
  2. 2 Educational technique: I would like to share my experience with you, we should not tag the article on how to mountaineering with the NFD tag (candidate for deletion) just because it is dangerous. “NFD Hazardous” are those articles that are at the same time both meaningless and dangerous. We usually use this tag to remove articles bordering on comic articles and really crazy ideas like "How to drive a blindfold in busy traffic." We do not want to delete all topics that are dangerous, but still reasonable. Otherwise, we would not have articles about such things as mountaineering, scuba diving, skydiving, etc.
  3. 3 Encouragement and inspiration: Thanks again for patrolling the latest changes. You did a great job and really improved the quality of the information on wikiHow. I sincerely hope that you will continue to make an invaluable contribution to improving our common knowledge.

  • For effective feedback, honesty is important. Avoid compliments in your review if you find it difficult to find positive points.
  • However. . Coaching is not a solution for any situation. The personnel management model of the 80s remained behind the management system more adaptable to individual characteristics, human experience and the current problem. Sometimes coaching is the right solution, sometimes you need to slap your hands, and sometimes you need to be fired immediately. Do not use coaching as a buzzword or as a backup where something else is required. In the wikiHow example, where a person incorrectly formatted an article, he probably needed coaching. At the same time, systematic "sabotage" with a sufficient number of preliminary warnings justifies the transfer of a person to the ban list.
  • Practice coaching regularly: If you include it in everyday life, then learn to use it more effectively, and people will gradually get rid of fear of it. Try not to be obsessed with coaching, otherwise you will lose both persuasiveness and influence.
  • Practice: It’s a good idea to practice in front of a mirror, and even better, in front of another person before applying it in reality. Your task is to learn how to present your position smoothly, with a smooth presentation,
  • Keep an eye on how your feedback is perceived. This will allow you to make the necessary changes to the approach, if necessary.
  • Keep a positive attitude: If you do this with a positive attitude towards the person and the situation, then your mentoring will bring a good result. Moreover, a negative attitude is guaranteed to ruin your whole undertaking.


  • Do not use this technique repeatedly for the same reason: When you discuss with a person a particularly serious problem or situation that has already been brought up with him to talk, this technique will not be effective - you need a more direct approach.
  • Do not be condescending: You are trying to change the behavior. No need to demonstrate your superiority, do not be indignant, do not behave pretentiously - this is guaranteed to ruin the attempt to establish communication.
  • During the educational process, you should not be limited only to positive feedback: If during the application of the “sandwich” technique you start pouring compliments, the person will feel embarrassed, and he will begin to wonder what he did wrong.
  • Give sincere, personalized compliments: People will notice if you treat them patronizingly - your intentions will become obvious, and the technique will have less chance of success.
  • Avoid the charges: You are simply pointing to something that needs change. What circumstances led to this does not matter. And what is important is what is happening at the moment, how the situation will develop, and how you will achieve these results. Overall conversation should pass on positive emotions. Of course, there will be an unpleasant part, but two positive ones will outweigh it. Leave your interlocutor in high spirits, and you will get the results that you are achieving.

  • Be sincere: Much has been said about inflexibility, but remember that when you change the way your criticism is expressed, it can sound completely new. Be realistic and always push for behavior change. Remember that you need to change beliefs, and not just behavior, as their external manifestation, changing beliefs, you will push for change and behavior.
  • Many managers are afraid to criticize subordinates

    An exchange of views is the main component of the relationship between a leader and a subordinate, but often leaders are afraid to give a constructive (negative) assessment of the work of subordinates. It seems to them that negative reviews will offend employees and violate the principle of trust on which relationships are based. As a rule, such leaders keep discontent to themselves. They are silent in a variety of situations, turn a blind eye to lateness, inappropriate appearance and behavior (especially in relation to employees of the opposite sex).

    More than criticism

    Feedback is information that is given to a person to adjust his behavior. The very concept began to be used in the field of professional communications after the Second World War. But it still plays an important role when working with talents. Equating feedback to criticism is not worth it, because it is not limited to comments or praise. In a business environment, this is a review of how well an employee performs his duties and what can be improved.

    Once a year or every day?

    In business, feedback is provided in many ways. One of the most objective is the “360 Assessment”, when an employee is evaluated by his colleagues and the head. This allows you to track successes and problems and eliminates bias. Usually "360 score" takes place every six months or a year, and according to its results, employees receive a promotion.

    In addition, companies collect feedback using questionnaires, surveys, interviews or suggestion boxes. For example, a tool is gaining popularity in Raiffeisenbank, GE and other foreign corporations. Real Time Feedback. It allows each employee to leave feedback to a colleague through a special form or application. In contrast to the semi-annual assessment, the feedback is in real time. The response is more relevant than with the “Assessment 360”, when only the general impression remains in the memory and the details are forgotten.

    Getting Feedback

    For a novice specialist, feedback is an important development tool. It is necessary not only to wait for it from colleagues, but also to request it yourself. In order to correctly perceive the feedback of others, ask the head in advance by what criteria you will be evaluated. Typically, attention is paid to the effectiveness and quality of work, personal and professional growth, teamwork and achievement of results. Looking at these aspects from the outside will help you better analyze your actions. Perceive criticism and praise calmly. In a working environment, this is not an assessment of personal qualities, but a way to motivate employees and adjust their work.

    The importance of feedback is emphasized by many successful entrepreneurs. Bill Gates said: “We all need people who give feedback. Thanks to them, we are getting better. " Even when it seems to a person that he is objectively evaluating his actions, blind spots remain. Because of them, we may find the feedback unjust and pissed off. Instead, it’s better to understand the reasons for such a recall and discuss it with colleagues. Perhaps you simply do not notice any negative trait behind you.

    Maria Makarushkina, partner, head of the practice of VIP consulting at ECOPSY Consulting, notes that feedback only works if you are ready to apprehend it appropriately: “Feedback will be a development tool if it gets on prepared soil, that is, when a person sees he’s aware of his shortcomings that some features of his behavior need to be further developed. ”

    Give feedback

    To provide quality feedback, you need to analyze the actions of the employee and monitor his progress. Avoiding this means losing a significant portion of the team’s potential. Some will not find out about their mistakes, while others will not receive motivation.

    The popular belief that praise relaxes and reduces the quality of work is a myth. Pointing to strengths, we increase the motivation and positive attitude of colleagues. There is another misconception. Many people avoid giving feedback because they are afraid to offend. But in fact, well-reasoned criticism will help employees see their growth areas and correct mistakes that they might not have noticed.

    How to give feedback:

    • Adjust feedback individually for each person. For example, if you notice that a productive employee is tired and demotivated, support him with praise.
    • Assess not the person’s personality, but his deeds.
    • Avoid common words, illustrate the assessment with examples.
    • Provide feedback in a timely manner, do not postpone it until the moment when everyone will forget about the situation.
    • Present criticism in a confidential setting. At the same time, it is quite possible to praise among colleagues.
    • Analyze not only the effect, but also the cause of the problem.
    • Clearly say how you see the solution to the problem and what steps you expect from the employee.

    There are several models that allow you to more effectively convey your feedback to the employee:

    Sandwich method Helps delicately convey criticism. The beginning of the message should tune in to positive emotions. You can thank the employee for the work. In the middle is to place information that will burden the addressee: demand or criticism. Indicate what needs to be fixed and finalized. At the end, praise the interlocutor, express support. Here is an example of a working letter written on the principle of a sandwich:

    Good afternoon, Michael!
    Thank you very much for the study, it turned out very informative. Only in the second part, I would advise replacing the 2014 data with more timely ones. I am sure that with your help we will make the project even better. If you need information, please contact.

    RFP (Problem - Reason - Support). Discuss with the employee what happened and what is the reason. After that, together formulate possible solutions to and prevention of the problem.

    OMRA(Observation - Motive - Result - Action). In the question-and-answer format, discuss with the employee his actions. Find out what has been done and what are the motives of the person. Then figure out what went wrong and how to prevent the problem.

    SLC (Successes - Learn - Change). This model is used to analyze teamwork. Each participant in the project identifies their main achievements, conclusions and changes that need to be made in the future. After that, colleagues together choose the main successes, lessons and the most necessary change.

    To better understand the feedback topic, we recommend reading these three books:

    • “Feedback. Get feedback! ”, Igor Mann, Elena Zolina.
    • “Effective feedback skills,” Tim Russell.
    • “Thanks for the tip: How to Respond to Feedback Correctly,” Douglas Stone, Sheila Hin.


    The principle of a sandwich allows the manager to rephrase the remark so that it is easier to express and perceive. It encourages good behavior and promotes positive change.

    In the next article, we will look at examples that demonstrate the most common mistakes when using the sandwich principle, which completely destroy its essence. In short, the criticism must be veiled (otherwise the praise seems insincere).