Are you in a management position where you have to discipline or plan and deliver negative feedback to your international colleagues?

This can bring up cultural challenges and language confusion.

Listen in on today’s episode as Lindsay and Michelle share how to properly deliver negative feedback as a manager.

This will also help you build a positive office environment.

Giving Feedback

Today’s episode is inspired by a question from one of the All Ears English listeners.

Her question is about giving feedback as a manager. Michelle asks Lindsay if she ever had to talk to someone about some pretty serious feedback as a manager.

She also asks if Lindsay was uncomfortable giving the feedback.

Lindsay says she has been fortunate to not have encountered any situation where she had to give negative feedback as a manager.

She thinks it will happen someday but she has been lucky so far.

Lindsay asks the same question to Michelle. Michelle shares that she hasn’t experienced it as a manager but she has encountered it as a teacher.

As a teacher, you have to give feedback.

She gives an example about students who are often late.

She would have to reprimand them and let them know it’s disrespectful to be tardy all the time.

Here is the question that inspired today’s episode:

Hello. My name is Ateka. I’m an English teacher from Japan. I used to work for AEON just like you. 😊 I’m a huge fan of AEE. Listening to your voices makes me happy every day. Thank you for your hard work! I have a question. I’ll start working at an international school in two months. I’m going to take a managerial position, and one of my tasks will be to support the teachers who are from many different countries. In the job interview with the principal, I heard that some teachers are tardy and late to class once in a while. When that happens, I as a manager will have to talk to them and correct their behaviours. Up until today, I have only been teaching English, and I’ve never had to deal with this kind of situation. So, I don’t know how to address this problem with my colleagues. How can I talk to them about problems like this and still be on good terms with them? Will you please help me? I’d really appreciate it if you do. Thanks in advance.

Love from Japan,

This is a great question from Ateka. It is a good thing that she is anticipating future situations and is also focused on maintaining good relations after giving negative feedback.

You are starting in a great place if you act with care.

Maintaining Relationships After Giving Feedback

If you are working in an international business, there are a lot of things you have to consider when you are communicating as a manager.

First is culture.

Culture plays an important part in making sure you get the right message across when you are communicating at work. There are cultures where it may be hard to give direct feedback.

Second, when delivering the feedback, you have to start by showing interest in the person.

You can start the conversation by asking about their hobbies, families or other interests.

This helps with starting a good core relationship with your colleague as you give feedback.

Third, you have to remain calm. You don’t need to yell, especially if you are giving feedback while you’re frustrated.

A good manager knows how to communicate properly and professionally.

The fourth thing to remember is if you are giving bad feedback, it helps to show you empathize.

You are their leader and showing that you have gone through the same thing or you can relate to their experience makes it easier for them to understand your feedback.

Lastly, you have to remember that as a manager, you are doing your best to realign your team members so you can be efficient and productive together.

After giving the feedback, you have to seek out solutions together and set out goals to make sure what you discussed will be fruitful.

Phrases to Use to Give Feedback

Here are some phrases you can use that will help in giving feedback:

  • When opening up a conversation, here is what you can say:

“Hi I wanted to chat with you about something.”

  • When you want to bring up a topic, this is what you can use:

“I’ve noticed you’ve been late a few times…”

  • Here is a phrase that you can use to show you are empathizing with your colleague:

“I wanted to check in and see if everything is okay.”

  • To start initiating the discussion to find solutions, you can say:

“I was wondering if you needed any help navigating your way to work, or if I can help with timing in any way.”


Lindsay and Michelle have given several tips on how you can give feedback as a manager, here is a quick roleplay incorporating all those tips.

Lindsay is talking to Michelle about being late.

Lindsay: Hey Michelle how’s it going?

Michelle: Good thanks!

Lindsay: I wanted to chat with you about something…

Michelle: Okay…

Lindsay: I’ve noticed you’ve been late a few times. I wanted to check in and see if everything is okay.

Michelle: Oh wow. I know, I’m so sorry. I really apologize.

Lindsay: I appreciate that. I was wondering if you needed any help navigating your way to work, or if I can help with timing in any way. I know the subway system can be a pain.

Michelle: Yeah there are tons of delays! I think I should switch my train because it’s always late. Maybe I’ll look at taking another route.

Lindsay: That sounds like a good idea.

Michelle: I will fix the problem. Thanks for being so patient.

Lindsay: Let me know if I can help!

Michelle: Thanks, Lindsay!


The main takeaway from this episode is always start with a good foundation with your colleagues and giving feedback as a manager will be a lot easier.

You have to remember you are in a business setting so you don’t have to make things personal.

You have to keep your cool and control your temper.

Giving feedback objectively is what will help you and your team members work well together.

What are your experiences when giving feedback at work?

Let us know in the comments below what that outcome was and how you handled it.

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