2018.04.30 Direct vs Indirect Feedback

When it comes to delivering feedback, Danish business culture doesn't subscribe to sugarcoating.

USA invented the feedback-sandwich: Say something nice before and after you have delivered the critical part that really is the central message.

This difference can cause trouble because Danish managers may seem unnecessary harsh in the eyes of American employees who may become demotivated by the negativity.

Meanwhile, Danish employees may not put enough weight on critical feedback from an American manager because it was mixed with positive messages.

It doesn't make crossing this gap easier that Danes are not that big on giving praise, either. We are not alone in having a default where you hear about it if you mess up, but "good job"s don't float around much. In USA that approach just doesn't work that well.

Many Americans have confessed that when they get praise, they are just waiting for the negative feedback that is expected to follow. Evidently, the feedback-sandwich is not optimal, either. And some "gurus" don't ascribe to the idea any longer because it doesn't create clear communication.

I can only advocate to start new work relationships with actively looking for reasons to give specific and timely praise - that leaves a positive balance on the goodwill account for when some "constructive feedback" needs to be delivered.

A simple but heartfelt "Thank you" does wonders.

More on that when I discuss Trust in a later post.