For years we were led to believe that a fat feedback sandwich is the only way to get away with delivering negative feedback. Meaning – say the stinking stuff and still avoid the consequences (relationship damage, reputation of a bully and so on).
Imagine you are talking to someone who really got on your nerves. How realistic is it to find something that is genuinely ‘positive’ and how likely are you to deliver it in a credible manner?
The reality is – recipient’s brain gets confused or ignores the message altogether. Or they can smell the lack of honesty and the trust is compromised.
The solution is the concept of the emotional bank balance. Every relationship we built over time and we constantly make deposits and withdrawals. A negative feedback is a withdrawal, but its impact depends on the overall balance. We don’t see the negative feedback as a one-off stunt but in the context of our whole relationship. If it is strong and healthy, it will survive a bit of bitterness. Makes sense doesn’t it?