Let’s get this straight, taking criticism is a difficult process and even harder if you try to turn negative criticism into a positive experience. We come across comments on our work, our dress, the shoes, bag, our gait, the way we talk or drive and we all know it isn’t really enjoyable.
Dealing with criticism while keeping your calm is a rare skill only a small bunch of people manage to have it. We all are aware of that rush of emotions we go through once “We need to talk” strikes our ears.
However crucial feedback is, in improving individual performance, it is still a bitter bite to swallow. And it’s not always something we are actively seeking. The situation always reminds me of Norman Vincent Peale’s quote:
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
There are two main types of critiques:
1. Constructive Criticism: Constructive Criticism is directed at the work done by someone, mostly timely, focused, and actionable.
2. Destructive Criticism: Destructive Criticism is targeted at the person and is emotionally destructive.
Follow these six simple steps to calm down the instant outflow of emotions as a reaction to criticism:
Do Not, I repeat Do Not react instantly
The instant you receive feedback (aka Critique) you have just one second to give away a reaction which can put you in a whole new vulnerable position in the longer run. So try and hold that emotional rush and you’ll thank yourself later. Seize those facial expressions to save yourself from regret later.
Remember to focus on constructive feedback and not on the source of it, sometimes the most accurate feedback comes from the most imperfect and unexpected sources. Be open to it.
Listen to understand, not to react
Now switch from your feeling self to thinking one. Try to understand the meaning and reason behind that critique. Analyse it and engage in a constructive dialogue with your peer and de code how you can make things work.
Let them finish what they are saying and repeat what you understood out of it. Ask them to correct you if you’re missing something. Understand their perspective and you’re good to go.
Dissect the feedback for better understanding
Listen to the person’s critique closely, break it down and repeat it to them to get both of you on the same page of understanding. Ask questions as many as you can, look for any specific requirements that you might be skipping. Ask for precise loopholes and their suggestions to make it better.
Ask for the time to Follow Up
After you’re done discussing then pros and cons, the loopholes and areas for betterment, it’s time for you to keep the logical train of thought going and quickly ask the other person as when they expect to see the finished product, go over the internet to do your research. Visit here if you don’t have a reliable internet connection already. And mutually decide on a deadline.
Keep your ‘self’ and your work separate
Take the constructive criticism on your work and not your ‘self’. If someone is criticizing your work it doesn’t really make you any less worthy of a person. Look at it as an opportunity for growth and not as a personal attack. Keep your nerves calm and tackle the situation with better rationality.
Appreciate the Constructive Feedback
Once you are done discussing, remember to thank for the constructive criticism. Since however hard it may look on the surface it definitely is going to help you grow and become a better professional in the times to come. Taking out the time to appreciate the efforts of your colleague will not only help him/her do better while earning you better credibility as a professional.
We all know critique can sometime get quite irritating, and infuriating too. Just as our vegies on dinner plate. We know they are good but they sure don’t taste as good. Handling criticism gets difficult when we being very passionate for our work, end up making it a part of ourselves hence taking the critique on our personal selves and not the work only. Take the opportunity for growth as your favourite treat after a boring meal. A reward after tireless work.
Tell me how you handle criticism positively in situations as difficult as these.