“It is not their culture. It is that particular person with whom I have an issue.”

I sometimes hear: “It is not their culture with which I have a problem. I have no issues with them. Well, they are hierarchical. One of them has made a good impression with MY input. They constantly show how important they are. They are territorial, very defensive and sensitive. Not all of them, some of them. I miss structure in the meetings. But I have 10 years of experience in dealing with them, it is ok. The real problem is that particular person. I told him not to make a good impression with my input. I told him that he shares nothing. He keeps everything to himself. We are colleagues. I just told him! Someone had to confront him. He has to learn and adapt, as we all do. He has to be open to my criticism and take it.”


This person was in pain and wanted to tell the ‘truth’… Maybe the intentions were good. She wanted to make sure that her American colleague would understand her irritation so that they could talk about it together, solve it and have less friction in the future. If it had been said to a Dutch person, he or she could have reacted: ‘okay, that hurts, calm down, I see your point’, but this was said to an American who is not used to this way.

The woman who openly discussed this, has only made it worse to be (openly) critical in this way. She just became a threat to her American colleague and doesn’t see that she is part of the problematic relationship. For both of them it is a nasty situation. You don’t want to be in that place, because you need to continue working together. It would be nice to be able to discuss things in a more constructive way and know how to give feedback, so that you can still discuss what you need to discuss without offending Americans and without making things worse for yourself and the other person. In the training you will learn how.