Chances are your Halloween shopping is done. Your kids have their costumes. You have two or three (or five) bags of candy ready to go. All that’s left to do is man the front door and wait for the neighborhood kids to yell, “Trick or treat!”

When it comes to coaching and feedback, we often deliver a little too much “trick,” and not enough “treat.” Here’s what I mean…

As managers, we’re taught the “Sandwich Method” for delivering feedback. In the Sandwich Method, a manager sets the tone for a coaching session by opening with a positive (e.g., “great job on this month’s TPS reports…”) and ending the discussion on a positive note as well (e.g., something akin to “keep up the good work…”).

This allows us to “sandwich” our feedback – a.k.a., the trick – in the middle.

This approach is outdated, to say the least. For one, even your most junior team member can see it coming a mile away. They’ve tuned you out well before you reach the middle of the sandwich. In addition, it’s completely one-sided. The Sandwich Method does not allow for two-way dialogue and presents zero opportunity for your team member to create “ownership” in his or her situation.

Better Approach: Start with Success

A better way to create dialogue and focus your feedback on what really matters is to start with Success.

As managers, our number one priority is to ensure that our direct reports and team members are clear as to what Success looks like. They need to fully understand both the “What” (i.e., what specifically we’re working toward) and the “Why” (i.e., WIIFM).

By starting with Success and then moving to a dialogue around the current Situation, any desired changes in performance, approach, or attitude will become self-evident.

This 4S™ approach also allows your direct report or team member to take an active role not only in the discussion but in any Solution the two of you might create.

That’s the treat. Rather than sit through yet another one-way feedback session courtesy of the Sandwich Method, your direct reports are energized and engaged in their own development.

Over time, this approach teaches your team members to come to feedback sessions and weekly one-on-ones prepared which will free you up to focus on bigger, more strategic issues such as Butterfingers vs. Snickers.

Happy Halloween from Velocity.