A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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62. How Gracious Are You?

You may remember the feedback sandwich. It's a way of giving negative feedback without reducing the other person to tears, or driving them towards the job pages. It is a kindly way of encouraging someone to do better. But sometimes this kindly approach doesn't work. What do you do when that happens?Imagine that you had a member of staff who was persistently late. You have mentioned this a few times, by way of appreciating his work and saying how his performance could be even better if he were more punctual. These chats are accompanied by a smile and a chummy pat on the back. He always apologises to you and provides an improbable excuse, and he then improves his time-keeping for about four da