The Art of Dealing with Criticism
Can you think of a single person who likes to be criticised?. Has anyone in the past wandered up to you and said please criticise me? This week I have been thinking a lot about criticism and people's perspectives because I had some work provided with 'constructive feedback.'
Just to give you an insight of what initiated these thoughts, within my corporate social media and business work, I often produce presentations. I am always trying to progress and make them more and more interesting. Quite often I push boundaries. Of late I have been using a program called Videoscribe to produce small films to illustrate themes like Rewards and Recognition and promote the Social Media within the corporate environment. For those who work in business or in a corporation; I am sure you know that the main way of communication is through email or making very straight-line Powerpoint presentations. Nothing jumps out at you and the header should be another 'boring email that talks at me.' This is why I lead a communications team because I don't do boring.
So this week I made two presentations that were used on a Global scale and my Managing Director came up to me and said "I saw your films. They were very clever but I would not have done it like that." So that was the line... that made me travel on the journey of criticism and how people pass comment on others. I realised that most people's response to criticism is to become defensive. The second is to respond with a snarky comment and the third is to desire to punch them in the balls or smack a female version around the head with a handbag (in your mind of course!) The thing is sometimes people believe they are being helpful. There have been times when a comment has shown me something I missed. So not all criticism is bad. Sometime it is more how you deal with it.
So with this in mind I came up with the following on how to deal with criticism.
The biggest thing is to not take whatever is said personally. People make comments based on themselves. Sometimes they don't even realise they are criticising. What is interesting is so many people believe you care about their opinion. Remember it is just an opinion. Also use the comment to evaluate whether something can be done better to improve your project or whatever is being commented on.
So here are a few responses:
Response: Thank you for your insight. How would you do it? Oh have you done it like that before and did it get a good response? (This is not to be said with a tone of sarcasm, no matter how tempting).
Thank you for your opinion. What did you feel that worked and what needs to be adapted?
If you are not bothered by people's approval simply say 'thanks for your input.'
Or if you are a bit of a git then simply say 'I would love to see how you would do it and see the final piece.' I write this because the person concerned does not deliver and is just a talker. There are plenty of those in life.
This subject then made me think that there must be benefits to criticism... Why else would people do it? In my opinion it is a power dynamic. People criticise to 'steal your fire.' The thing is when you have established self-esteem you look at them and in your head you think 'I couldn't give a sh** what you think.
So the benefits of criticism are as follows:
The Benefits of Criticism
Personal Growth:1. Are there any seeds of truth that can be worked on? If there are how can you use this to enable you to grow?
2. Is there a new perspective that you can use? You can expand, evaluate and evolve your thinking?
3. Take the opportunity to hear. Again Criticism gives you a chance to listen effectively to determine what someone actually means.
4. You have the chance to see the world through a critics' eyes. If they are criticising you then what must be going on inside their heads at themselves?
5. When critics hit a sensitive spot then it is an opportunity explore unresolved issues. Why else would you be triggered into a reaction? If you were resolved within your self then would just smile and say thanks.
6.Criticism enables you to choose peace over conflict. You have a choice - create a drama or let it go.
7. Do you have people-pleasing tendencies? Criticism and your response will highlight whether you desire to please others. Ask yourself why you need to please? Also criticism enables you to define boundaries and teach people how you want to be treated.
8. Learn to be criticised and move on quickly. It the same as fail quickly and move to success.
You can learn to be time efficient and stop wasting mental energy on being criticisied.
If you have the right state of mind criticism enables you to progress, learn how you feel and whether you wish to be around the critic. We all have inner critics and sometimes criticism reveals something you already knew. Wouldn't it be worse if everyone said something was brilliant and there was an obvious flaw that you had not seen and no one had the balls to tell you? The critical enemy can be your best friend!
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