Ask The Expert: Handling Negative Feedback

I’d really appreciate some guidance. How do I deal with the participant that turns up week in and week out and consistently gives negative feedback? I’d like to say at this stage I welcome all feedback. But this guy doesn’t like my music, says he works harder in other classes, and feels I should be more like another instructor. I try to smile and be professional but I’m struggling not to bluntly ask him why he continues to book on (I know that’s unprofessional and never would).

I invest a lot of time in planning ride profiles, classes, and music for my classes, which are in addition to a full-time job. I guess you could say I’m passionate about what I do, the safety of my riders, and us all becoming better.

I’ve been qualified for 2 years, instructing for 18 months. I think I still classify myself as new.

Help!!!  ~Linzy

Addressing Negative Feedback

The underlying issue, it seems to me, is that as instructors we teach for the relationships we create. (Few of us teach for the money.) To have a student actively reject that relationship is hurtful. To some extent, we have to accept that.


  1. Linzy,

    You’ve gotten great support above. I would certainly let management know since he’s swearing and making very disrespectful comments aloud in class. This is managements responsibility to handle and i’d request a meeting in person to let them know who you are and what you are bringing to class. Invite them to come in on a day when he’s attending. Would they sit by and let someone speak to them like that? Bet not. Making your announcement at the beginning should put him on notice too. You’ve got 99% of your riders behind you and us here to keep reminding you that Keeping It Real is the best practice. Keep us posted.

  2. Linzy, this sounds reasonable to me. In other areas where I sometimes have problems, i.e. talking, I find a clear advance announcement on my terms preempts problems. It might work here as well.

    Also, and best, it allows you to define and stand your ground while still being professional.

    Promise us all that you’ll stay with this and not get discouraged. It sounds like your students love you, or at least 99.9% of them. No instructor, no matter how good, is everyone’s cup of tea.


  3. Thanks for all of your support guys.

    I’ve had some pretty overwhelmingly positive feedback from absolutely everybody else who attends the classes.

    I too am confused as to why he persists in attending, my classes are booked up in the early hours of the morning 7 days before I deliver them. Many people want to get onto this class but cant.

    I feel that the club management are unlikely to support me (although I too am a member and pay membership just like anybody else).

    My plan had been to just give a short announcement at the beginning of my classes for the next week or so to say that not everyone will gel with my style of teaching or my track choices, if anybody feels like this then their first move should be to approach me if they felt comfortable and to discuss it. That I will do what I can to resolve any concerns but that ultimately my responsibility lies with ensuring that the majority of my attendees are enjoying the class and are safe. If anybody felt that despite this they still were not enjoying my classes then there are others on the timetable and that there are people waiting for spaces to be freed up in my classes.

    I feel that by not singling him out that I cant be accused of any kind of “bullying” or unprofessionalism.

    Ultimately though I do need to protect my reputation and comments like this could be heard by people who have never even taken one of my classes. Its unfair and could be damaging. I suppose that I could approach the management of the club on this basis

  4. Linzy, just as Bill said you seem very passionate at what you do. Believe in yourself and what you stand for! I would let management know for sure, at my club we had a similar situation. This man was disruptive to the entire class and made everyone uncomfortable. I was not an instructor at the time but witnessed the “harassment” to the instructor. She stayed completely calm and professional. Riders started to speak up to him and management;soon he was gone. Stay strong, continue to rock your ride and inspire. 🙂

  5. Author

    Linzy, I was thinking more about you. You sound like an instructor who really cares and works hard at her craft. Stay strong! And please keep us posted for support.

  6. Author

    Linzy, how do you feel about your management? Do you think they will support you? I encourage you to talk to them. And, in the case you describe, I think I would ask the person to consider other classes rather than drag your class down. You may want to check with management before you do that however. This is unusual i.e. that he keeps coming back. He seems to get something out of complaining but it harms you – and it probably infects the mood of the whole class. My management would support me in this situation and I hope yours will support you.

  7. Thank you for this… Things got worse this evening … I returned from a break to be told by other attendees that he’d said to the stand in instructor “you don’t know the sh*t we have to put up with” ….
    I’m completely at a loss as this guy has to get up at 12.01am to get a space on my classes and yet his reason for doing so seems to be to run me down.
    I think I may need to at least the club management aware

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