There are ways to become good at honest and constructive evaluation and guidance of our employees. One is to speak up when an issue is identified and not wait for an annual review. Another is to replace the sandwich with a statement of the observed behavior that is of concern and an immediate helpful suggestion: “I noticed you have difficulty with xxx. What do you think about trying to do yyy instead? Do you think that would make things go better?”
The message behind this approach is that “I, your physician leader, want you to be successful. So I am making sure you are aware of the issue and, having given the matter careful thought, I offer you some of my best ideas for you to consider as ways to help you be more successful in the future.”
Does there exist a perfect and pain-free method (sandwich or otherwise) to deliver necessary constructive criticism? Probably not. But is it vitally important that we provide employees with performance assessments? Absolutely!
And you, dear reader? Are you the deliverer of honest feedback you think you should be?