The feedback sandwich has its merits if there's been no prior practice towards giving positive feedback.
There's a book I read recently that stated you should let your employees (or direct reports) know you will be implementing a new feedback structure. Then you use this form of feedback (1. Ask, 2. Deliver based on behavior, not the person) in only positive feedback for 8 weeks, and THEN you start mixing in negative feedback. It means you can kindly get right to the point because your team is used to the structure of you giving feedback (whether positive or negative) and you don't have to dance around their feelings.
That structure can work as well, as long as positivity remains in the mix.
I think, however, the term "dance around their feelings" shows the wrong attitude. We should always be thinking about how our words and actions are going to affect others. As much as it is popular to justify our own bluntness with "it's reality, suck it up, buttercup," that doesn't actually make it okay to trample over other people in the name of efficiency or objectivity. We can be honest AND compassionate.
Not that I believe you're advocating callousness...but there are many people who would take it as license. The management trends of the last 30 years have it wrong: it does matter how our actions personally affect the "underling".
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