Daily Prompt: How are you at receiving criticism? Do you prefer that others treat you with kid gloves, or go for brutal honesty?
The Sandwich Principle: Please Make Mine A Grilled Cheese Sandwich!
I learned many years ago that the best way to give criticism is to follow the “Sandwich Principle”. It simply means that you need to remember to “sandwich” your criticism between two compliments. Ergo, say something positive first, then give your criticism, and then finish off with something positive once again.
I like the idea, except that I prefer mine to be a “Grilled Cheese Sandwich“.
You see, many people attempt to follow the same principle but end up miserably failing. I think the problem stems from a combination of different factors:
- the compliments don’t sound sincere
- the person giving the criticism doesn’t have the right motives in place
- the criticism is so harsh that any positive feedback given before or after pales in comparison
- the person being criticized is way too immature to handle it (because they choose not to view it as constructive criticism in spite of your best efforts to assure them it’s meant to help)
- poor communication skills from both parties
- there’s just no trust and respect established between the two individuals (the worst of all)
Over the years, I believe I’ve matured enough that I’ve been able to handle my share of criticisms rather well. However, if you’d ask me how I’d prefer to receive them, I would very much prefer to be served not just any sandwich, but a “Grilled Cheese Sandwich“.
- Bread should be a lot thicker than the cheese. You should first remember that my mistakes do not define me. No matter how severe my shortcomings may have been, I appreciate it when a person who needs to offer me criticism approaches me with the assumption that my strengths are far greater than my weaknesses. That I am someone who made exactly that – a mistake – but I can be better than that. In fact, I am better than that.
- My sandwich should be buttered with love and respect on the outside. For so long as I know you are giving me your criticism out of genuine concern for me and with the respect that I deserve, the “grilling” becomes less intimidating.
- Grilling is good. All that being said, don’t worry about having to “go easy on me”. I’m a big girl, I can handle it. So go ahead. Grill away, and “melt” the criticism into something that actually tastes good, and is not a pain to chew and swallow. Grill it until you achieve a golden brown perfection on the outside and a gooey-cheesy heaven on the inside.
For so long as it’s done this way, you can serve me as many grilled cheese sandwiches as you like. Bring it on. I’ll still be a happy camper!