“The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How do you deal with criticism? Do you just shrug it off? Or you use it as a motivation to become a better person? For sure, many of us find it too difficult to accept criticism. Whether it’s about our personal life or in our career, it’s hard to remain calm and self-confident when people around us give us negative feedback.
Sure, not winning the approval of the people that matter to you personally or professionally can keep us up at night. However, in order to succeed in life, it’s important to take criticism in stride. Although criticism doesn’t always come gently and is often unsolicited, there’s always a lesson to learn from it, if we’re only willing to learn from it.
Being able to handle criticism gracefully can help improve our relationships, job performance, and satisfaction in life. To help you out, here are some helpful tips to handle any kind of criticism that heads our way.
1. Listen First
Work out whether the feedback is constructive or simply rude. If possible, ask questions so you can fully understand the criticism. For instance, you may feel uncomfortable if one of your subordinates says you are too controlling, but having him point out this flaw may help you change and ultimately improve your relationship with them. If you know that criticism could help improve for better, lend all ears and try to learn from it instead of getting defensive.
2. Think What You Can Learn from Criticism
Often, criticism is based, at least in part, on some truths. For instance, if one of your customers says that your customer service lacks quality, there might be an incident where he/she experience d a sub-standard performance from one of your customer service reps.
Criticism may appear negative. But at the end of the day, through this criticism, we also have the opportunity to learn and improve from their feedbacks.
3. Take Time to Reflect
The “Think before you speak” motto does not only apply to those who often criticise but to those who often receive as well. It is best to wait a little before you respond to your critics. If you let those negative feedbacks get the best out of you, the words that will say will soon be the words you’ll wish you wouldn’t have said.
Responding with feelings or injured pride is one of the reasons why relationships fail, whether it’s personal or professional. If you wait patiently, you will be able to reflect and respond in a calmer way.
4. Respond Gently
No matter how harsh their comment is, don’t let it ruin your composure. Instead, remain respectful and thank them if the feedback is useful – even if their tone is quite condescending. If the critique is uncalled for, still show them kindness. Most of the time, a simple smile is all it takes to keep the ball spinning and will motivate the other person to moderate their approach.
5. Don’t Take It Personally
One of the biggest problems which occur in regards to criticism is taking it personally. If one of your employees criticised your policies, feeling personally offended means mistaking to identify ourselves with our business’ policies. When people criticise us directly, this does not mean they are criticising our real self; but, just an unilluminated aspect of ourselves. This work s both ways: when we give feedback to others, we’re perhaps judging their capacity to make timely decisions; but decision-making is a mere skill, it is not the real person.
6. Ignore Baseless Criticism
Occasionally, we also face criticism which has no absolute justification at all. But while painful, it is, in fact, easier to deal with that criticism which is justified. One way to deal with this is to remain distant and ignore it completely. As grown-ups, we should understand that false criticism is as insignificant as an ant hurting a great white shark. By remaining silent, we maintain a dignity that other will come to respect.
7. Keep on Improving
Remember that the criticism represents just one person’s point of view. If you know and accept your own strengths and weaknesses, then no negative opinions and feedbacks can keep you from working hard towards your goal. Also, there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. But making the same mistake over and over again because you refuse to listen to criticism and learn is just senseless.
Have you ever received criticism in a way that it helped you become a much better person? How did you handle it? What are some bad ways to receive criticism? Do you have an associate who handles criticism pretty well or badly? How do they do it? Write a comment below – I’d love to hear your take.
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