Do you get angry when someone criticizes something you do? Many of us get upset, allowing our self-esteem to plummet and sometimes wanting to say something hurtful back to the person expressing the criticism. But if you can learn to look at criticism as a message, as a way to identify something that you can learn to do even better, then it becomes a positive input that inpires you to feel grateful rather than hateful!
First you need to allow any initial responses of anger to roll off, and really look at the situation honestly. Try to not take the message personally, most of the time criticism has to do with something you said, or even an action you took, but it usually isn’t YOU. Your response may vary somewhat depending upon if you are talking one on one with a person or in a group. Regardless of the situation, stay calm and positive as you consider the criticism.
1. Take it as an opportunity to get clarity – it might help YOU to clarify your thoughts, or it could be that the delivery of your message wasn’t as clear as it could have been. Either way, you can use this as an opportunity to refine your message, which will now have a better chance of understanding and moving to a desirable outcome.
2. Remember that everyone has an opinion, and they have a right to it. A differing opinion can inspire conversation that allows an idea or a plan to grow or to improve. This is a chance to put all opinions on the table and come to agreement.
3. Notice whether there is a common thread that moves through criticism pointed in your direction, there may be a pattern in how you approach things that isn’t serving you, and this feedback will allow you to identify it and make some positive changes.
4. Showing your willingness to discuss all sides of a topic can make you look fair in the eyes of teammates (and management), making those around you wanting to interact with you more.