GZERO Media logo

How to give an effective performance review

In a performance review, what's the right order of praise and criticism to give?

Well a lot of people love the feedback sandwich. You know where you stick the meat of criticism in between two slices of praise. But I have to say that's a bad idea because the feedback sandwich does not taste as good as it looks. My biggest problem with the feedback sandwich is that in our memories primacy effects and recency effect tend to dominate. We remember the things that happened at the beginning and at the end and whatever's in the middle often fades, which means people might forget the criticism altogether.


You actually just want to give one slice of praise along with your criticism not two. So what goes first? Should it be the good news or the bad news. I think the answer actually depends on the recipient's frame of mind. If the recipient is extremely open then you can actually come right in with the bad news. That also helps if they're nervous because as Dan Pink writes in 'When', we prefer sequences that rise rather than those that fall. And so you can end on a high note. If you tell them, "hey, here's the area that I'd love for you to work on and here's the one thing you did best."

But, if you have a defensive recipient somebody, who might be close minded or narcissistic then you actually want to go the opposite route. Psychologists call it self affirmation where you praise in one domain and then you criticize in a completely unrelated domain. And that way it doesn't sting as much, because you're not threatening their whole ego, you're telling them, "hey, you know what? You were really creative this quarter, your decision making was just terrible."

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

Listen: The country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, joins Ian Bremmer to talk vaccines, school re-openings, and when—and how—the pandemic could finally come end. He was last on GZERO World just weeks before the pandemic hit in the fall of 2019 and he described at the time what kept him up at night: a "pandemic-like respiratory illness." This time, he talks about how closely that nightmare scenario foreshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic. He also offers some guidance about what public health measures vaccinated Americans should continue to take in the coming months (hint: masks stay on).

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

More Show less

Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

More Show less

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Stockholm on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take