What’s keeping you from giving negative feedback?



Even though I love positive feedback (in case you didn’t know, check out this section!). There are situations in which negative feedback is necessary. And when I say negative feedback, I mean telling somebody you do not like something they are (not) doing.

Many people find it difficult to give negative feedback, both at work and in their private lives. Of course there are some ticks and tricks that can help you to get better (and more about this next time!). But in most cases, we first have to work on our beliefs. Beliefs?

Everybody has thousands of beliefs… Beliefs about themselves, the others, the world, life in general… And these beliefs determine how we are going to behave.
If I belief one should have a good breakfast in the morning, what am I going to do? Indeed, have a good breakfast.
And therefore: if I believe it’s not up to me to give feedback, what am I going to do? Indeed … I am not going to give feedback (because it’s not up to me).

So let’s start by having a look at some beliefs that might keep you from giving good feedback. You might recognize some of them…

He must know he’s doing something wrong. It’s so obvious! How is telling him going to change that?
Well, he doesn’t have a crystal ball at home. Most people do not do something ‘wrong’ on purpose… Most of the time they think what they do is ok. And should he be doing it on purpose, like ‘testing the limits’, it’s up to you to give feedback that this is not ok or off limits…

If I tell her that she is doing something wrong she will be upset with me and I don’t like conflicts.
Maybe she’ll be happy and not upset because at least now she knows what you are expecting. Furthermore she might like the feedback because it means you are noticing what she is doing, it is worse to do you best, work hard and never receive any feedback. And last but not least: when people get upset when receiving feedback, it has often more to do with how it has been giving instead of with what has been said.

I will wait a while, the problem will sort itself out.
Every once in a while this can happen. For instance: somebody is arriving late consistently because they are having some issues at home but once this is over, they are back on time. Now if it doesn’t take very long, it’s probably ok. However, if things go on for a while, you might get more and more upset and start to focus on everything the person does ‘wrong’ and you will stop noticing what he’s doing right. And it’s very likely that, when you are finally going to give feedback, it’s going to come out more ‘aggressively’ than you would have liked/imagined… And even if it’s only a couple of times, this could have serious consequences… So you need to say something. Furthermore: what if they really don’t know they are not doing it right?

I will wait until the official annual evaluation (= work environment): that’s the time and place for feedback. I can then say everything at once. So much easier.
Actually: nothing of what you say during the annual evaluation should come as a surprise… It is supposed to be a summary of all the feedback that has been giving over the year. What are the 2 disadvantage of waiting for a whole year? First of all: if John does something wrong in March, and you’re only going to tell him in January (next year), he might keep on making the same mistake for 10 months, with serious consequences… And secondly: if John will have to listen to a list of 27 things (=big and small) he did wrong over the past year, he is more likely to get a bit defensive and not very open to what you have to say…

Now that I’ve given him the feedback, things will change.
Not necessarily. If you just gave feedback without having a real conversation, in which the other person can also express himself, it is possible nothing will change. Maybe he doesn’t agree there is a problem. Or maybe he doesn’t agree with the solution you proposed/imposed… It might also not be under his control… My point? Giving feedback is not a one-way-street. You give your ‘view’ of the situation and you are also willing to listen to the other person’s view. And… should he tell you he’s going to change and then he doesn’t, you should address it again…

What’s keeping YOU from giving negative feedback?

Share it in the comments below and we might find a ‘solution’ to it!


If you liked the above, you can sign up for more Tips & Tricks here. Looking forward to hearing from you!
If you want to work more on your beliefs, I recommend my free mini-course ‘Don’t believe everything you think!’

If you want to improve your assertive communication, sign up for my online assertiveness course ‘Say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way!’ 



The Parable of the Porpoise

Some people know me as the ‘fish lady’… Not because I love eating fish… No, I like to ‘give’ them…

‘Giving fish???’ – I am sure you are dying to know more so you can start spreading the fish yourself!

What do I have to make your life easier?

  • I have written two blog posts about it: This is the first one and this is the second.
  • I have even created a template you can use:  Fish template (print out 2 pages and then copy recto verso)
  • And where did I get my inspiration? I was first introduced to it in a train-the-trainer course at NLPU – Here you find more information.

What’s keeping you? Go spread the fish!

If you liked the above, you can sign up for more Tips & Tricks here. Looking forward to hearing from you!

10 tips for stress-free interviews

Last week I was reminded of the fact that job interviews can be a big stressor to many people. Personally I don’t think so. But then again: it’s not what happens to us that stresses us, but how we look at it, right? So I have decided to share my tips and trick, hoping somebody might benefit from them.


  1. I am the right person for this job. It is crucial that you believe this. But it’s not always easy to find the ‘balance’. When you believe you are the ‘best’ person for the job, chances are you might be a bit arrogant. But the opposite is also a ‘no-no’: ‘Who am I? There are probably a 100 people who would be better suited for this job than me…’ No, you are the right person for the job. Careful, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the job. Somebody else might be a better fit but that does not change the fact that you too, could be the right person for the job.
  1. Visualise yourself doing the job. The more you can see yourself doing the job, the easier it becomes to think you are the right person. You’ll be more congruent, it’s going to ‘show’ you can do it. An excellent exercise to get there is the ‘level alignment process’
  1. What if they don’t like me? Let me reply with: ‘What if YOU don’t like THEM?’… I once had an interview, and they were interested. I even went back for a second interview but… deep down I was thinking: ‘Do I really want to work here?’ And actually, I didn’t. So… when they offered me the job, I had to say no. And IF they don’t like you, don’t take it personal. You’re just not a ‘match’ at this moment and it was probably not meant to be in the first place.


After having taken care of the mindset, you want to prepare yourself carefully.

  1. Find out as much as you can about the job, the department, the company or organisation. What do they do? What’s the organisation like? How’s the atmosphere? Do people like working there? Having an ‘insider’ can be useful (although he/she can also be biased) but there is a lot you can find on the internet too.
  1. Study the job description: what are they looking for? Make sure that for every competence and/or quality they are asking for, you are able to give a relevant example (of you having that competence and/or quality). For instance: they want ‘stress resistant’. You have to be able to give a specific example of a situation in which you showed stress resistance. Maybe you don’t have a lot of professional experience. It is ok to use examples from your private life. Perhaps you have a hobby in which you are very much involved. This could also serve as an example of ‘team player’ or ‘organisation skills’ or … Be creative and think outside of the box!
  1. Be prepared for some ‘classics’ (and make sure that your answers are structured!):
  • Could you briefly introduce yourself? (e.g.: Who am I, what have I done so far, why do I think I am the right person for this job?)
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Could you give 3 positive and 3 negative qualities?
  1. If you tend to be nervous, practice some relaxation techniques. For more info look here and in the resource section of this website. But realise you need to practice, don’t try them out for the very first time at the interview…


  1. Wear something suitable. Make sure you ‘look’ the part. ‘Suitable’ will depend on the type of job you are going for and possibly also on the type of organisation. Finding out what is suitable, will be part of the preparation. Do make sure you pick something you also feel comfortable in…
  1. Make sure to keep eye contact. Should you be interviewed by more than 1 person, make sure to keep eye contact with all of them, and not just with the person with the ‘smiley’ face…
  1. When answering the questions: listen carefully to make sure you understand them well (if not, ask!), pause briefly (to allow yourself to structure your answer) and keep it brief. If they want to know more, they will ask. And don’t hesitate to ask questions yourself, should you have any.

These are my tips and tricks. If you have some of your own, feel free to share them below!

Good luck!

If you liked the above, you can sign up for more Tips & Tricks here. Looking forward to hearing from you!