December 08, 2009
Criticism derails not only your self-confidence, but your short-term productivity as well. In hindsight, you wish you could have managed it better.
5 Tips for Handling Criticism, in order
- Walk Away
- Acknowledge: Acknowledging the criticism does not mean that you agree with it. For the short-term, take in what you hear and accept it with a nod. If you are reacting with any emotion such as confused, defensive, angry, shocked or hurt, know that you are likely NOT to be thinking objectively. Simply state, “let me think about that.”
- Walk Away: Before emoting about the criticism, separate yourself from the situation. Emotion bypasses our prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain responsible for higher reasoning. No wonder we get ourselves in trouble when we are emotional.
- Process: Once things are clearer, identify your reaction and how you felt. What was the trigger? Did it remind you of something in the past? What might be at the core of your reaction? Articulate what went through your head after hearing the criticism.
Finding the answers for these is not critical, but it could help you defuse future incidents more quickly.
- Reframe: Find something about the criticism that was worthy. If only … “he seemed to feel comfortable giving me the criticism!” Disposition it mentally as something you may act on, or not. Make an effort to identify it as something in the past. Know that not every piece of criticism that someone gives should be taken as gospel.
- Close: Close the loop on this dialog by thanking the person for his feedback. Let him know you are open to future feedback. If the criticism was unnecessarily harsh, let him know that you most appreciate feedback that is actionable and objective. This will send the subtle message that he could adjust his level of criticism.