Can you take criticism?

You may have noticed the new theme! Still quite basic as I haven’t started tweaking the customization facility. It will keep me busy next week. I will also add, my eldest daughter is 21 tomorrow. I’m both very proud, and feel very old!!!!!!!!!!

Not everyone agreed with last weeks criticism sandwich, some feeling giving praise at the same time weakens the message. Like everything I write on this blog, it is up to you to find what suits. There are no rules carved into stone saying how you “must” behave.

Like giving criticism, receiving criticism can be difficult if you have low self esteem. Looking back at assertiveness, our responses to criticism can follow the same behavioral patterns:-

Passive – we believe everything the person is saying

Indirect aggression – agree at the time or say nothing, but then go off and sulk or be critical to others about the person who criticized you.

Direct aggression – angrily deny and challenge everything that is said to you.

Criticism may be unfair – and when it is we need to counter it by putting our own case succinctly and calmly. But some criticism is justified – and if we’re sensible we can learn from it. Often when we’re criticized, we’re so hurt that we start excusing ourselves and rebutting what’s being said without really listening to it.

The most important point is to listen to what is being said and ensure you are clear you understand the points being made. If necessary, ask for an example or clarification. Don’t interupt and start excusing yourself or arguing.

Once you have the other persons message clear, you have three choices:-

1) If you totally disagree with what is being said, smile, and say something like

“I’m afraid I don’t agree with you”
“You appear to have got your facts wrong”
“No, I don’t agree with your opinion”

The point is to reject the criticism firmly, but politely. If possible add a positive personal statement

“With my commitment to project XXXX  I would have no reason to YYYYY”

Also, try to fathom out what evidence they have for thinking that way and being critical

“What makes you think I did this?”

2) When the criticism is partially true – this will often happen because people seldom make just one point, but throw in any other ongoing issues or problems at the same time! So use the opportunity to quickly apologize and pass over on the true stuff:-

“You’re correct, I did arrive 10 minutes late this morning. But I totally disagree with…”
“Yes, I should have informed you I would be on a training course that morning. The issue regarding…”

3) Which bring us on to dealing with criticism that is justified. The bottom line here is – admit it, apologize, move on.  Many of us find it hard to admit we’ve made a mistake or been lacking in our standards.

“I agree, I shouldn’t have lost my temper. I’m sorry it upset XXXXX”
“I agree, I have been late on several occasions this month. I’m sorry I’ve let you down.”

You can add, if appropriate, how you feel, and what you intend to do about any behavior that needs improving. The act of agreeing and apologizing can take the wind out of the critics sails – if they’ve been bracing themselves for a fight, your agreement will quickly bring the meeting to a close.

You can also throw back the criticism to their problems, such as

“Does this make things difficult for you?”

If you are being criticized you will probably want to move on from it as quickly as possible. But do take time to consider what you have learnt from the criticism. Do you need to change your behavior?  Criticism is part of everyday communication. Learn from it where necessary, but don’t let it defeat you.

Bruce Bair PAC September 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm

When I want to know my flaws I ask an enemy. They may be brutal but they tell me things my friends don’t see or don’t know. It gives me a point of view that I can’t get anywhere else. The truth is somewhere between their point of view and mine and it gives me a parameter for how far apart these points of view are. Criticism is basically a good thing if it is aimed at things you can adjust like performance, attitude and service. If someone thinks I look bad because I am less that 6′ tall, I can do nothing about that and simply ignore it and avoid them in the future.

Bruce Bair PACs last blog post..HPV Vaccine – some new information

coolingstar9 September 9, 2008 at 12:16 am

This is the nice post, for me, I can take critical comment. As I know I can learn from it.
Have a nice day, hope I can see your footprint on my site, just joking only.

coolingstar9s last blog post..Award for all of you

Evan September 10, 2008 at 1:29 pm

My question is: but what when I’m furious and couldn’t smile if my life depended on it?

Evans last blog post..Love Your Disease?

David September 10, 2008 at 11:40 pm

I agree with your point Bruce, we should be able to learn from constructive criticism. And if someone has made you that angry, Evan, and you can no longer make a rational response then it sounds as if you are heading for a fight. If you can walk away from a situation and respond when you are in control – and express then how you felt – then to me that is a better way to handle it.

Davids last blog post..Can you take criticism?

Miss Gisele B. September 11, 2008 at 3:39 am

What an important message!

Consutructive criticism can actually help you grow as a person while negative criticism can destroy!

Miss Gisele G.

Miss Gisele B.s last blog post..The winner of the “Best Lie about Your Age” contest has been announced!

Confidence September 11, 2008 at 7:28 am

Pain can make you stronger, but it can also hurt you as well. It just all depends on how you react to it.

Katy Bound September 12, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Yes, taking criticism smartly and with polity is very important. Of course you can’t let others bash on you, but you must stand on grounds and take advantage of criticism, either it is positive or negative.

Katy Bounds last blog post..Secure borders, sheriffs urge candidates

Best Man September 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I can take it as long as its from I know and who I know care for me…. I believe they will only give m e constructive criticism and that can help me shape whatever I’m doing.

Evan September 27, 2008 at 1:24 am

Best Man,

I once heard it put this way: If they know you love them; you can tell them everything. True, I think.

Montan October 7, 2008 at 5:20 am

Yes, taking criticism smartly and with polity is very important. Of course you can’t let others bash on you, but you must stand on grounds and take advantage of criticism, either it is positive or negative.

GiveBackToYourself January 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

I can… if they make sense… and if they are constructive…

I dont want to be victim to hatred and dislike..and comments borne out of that..but of genuine concern…

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