6 Ways To Deal With Criticism
Have you ever had the following reactions to criticism?
- Try to marginalize the other person
- Ignore it
A wise mentor once told me “The seed of truth lies in every critique.” Criticism, negative feedback, sound advice – all of it can be useful tools to make you into a better leader – IF you allow it.
Instead of discounting those uncomfortable conversations, take the following steps to turn these “teachable moments” into ways to increase your learning and effectiveness of yourself:
- Be teachable. Leaders that are teachable take every opportunity to learn and grow, and are willing to make the tough changes. Unteachable leaders don’t think anything needs to change and dig in their heels. Always have a mind and heart that is willing to grow.
- Know that you have not arrived. Even if you are an outstanding leader in your field – or even touted as an expert by others – the moment you arrive is the moment you start to descend into irrelevancy. Your career should be one of an ever-increasing influence, regardless of your experience, success, or age.
- Examine yourself with the criticism. Instead of looking down at what was said, apply those words to yourself and take a hard, honest look. Ask “Is there ANY part of this true in me?” “How do others, and not myself, see me?” See where the seed of truth manifests itself in your behavior and actions. Be honest and look for the opportunity.
- Thank the other person. This is the most difficult response of all. Even if we are humble enough to acknowledge we need to change, thanking another for their feedback takes a deeper gut-check. But what you’ll achieve is a solid trust and committed accountability partner who can help you grow, and even become a solid mentor or trusted confidant. Keep in mind, that many people who give criticism actually want that person to grow and succeed and have their best interest at heart.
- Take action to make the change(s). Once you acknowledge that you can improve on these areas, act on them. We’ve all been around people who know they need to make changes but never do – their credibility loses ground as the weeks drone on. Work hard to incorporate these changes into your growth plan and give it an honest effort.
- Ask the originator for feedback. One of the best compliments and showing of no hard feelings is to ask the person who gave you the initial feedback to help you assess your progress. As they were the one to make the observation, they may be the best one to give you feedback as you grow. Again, it gains trust and builds a solid connection that will strengthen your leadership, team approach, and integrity of you and those around you.
So take those criticisms and make something of them. Be thankful for the opportunities to learn and grow. You, and others,will be glad you did.