Saturday, June 7, 2008

Accepting Criticism

It is a strange but an understandable phenomenon that most of us find taking criticism so hard. Mankind progresses by means of open minded observation and learning from its mistakes, and yet, at a personal level, taking criticism is often such a painful experience that we do everything in our powers to avoid it.

When someone criticizes us, our first reaction is to see it as some kind of attack, a direct challenge on who we are, on our competence. And yet criticism gives us the chance to question and improve, and by improving we become better and therefore more valuable in both our business and private lives.

Look around you and check your own friends, family and colleagues. Which of them are actively seeking feedback and criticism and moving forward with their lives, and which of them are standing still unwilling to improve and move on?

Because constructive criticism is a gift we should always say ‘thank you’ to the person who gave it to us (even if it is a day or so later). We should do this for two reasons: One, because the giver is the one putting themselves out and is therefore taking all the risks, and two, we are the real benefactors at the end of the day.

1 comment:

Matthijs said...

Indeed, constructive criticism is a gift. However, a lot of people don’t know how to provide feedback in a constructive way. If one makes very clear when and what the situation was, how the other behaved and what kind of impact that had on you, the other will accept the feedback more easier. The main reason being that the other will very well know what it’s about and he or she will not be able to dispute the impact it had because it’s yours. Furthermore, he or she will understand that if it had such an impact on you it could have had then same impact on others as well. To bring this topic even further. One who decides when suitable not to provide feedback to an other, denies that person a learning moment. So start providing feedback, but do it in a constructive way. The more people will do it, the more people will learn.