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The Secret to Taking Criticism Seriously-Not Personally

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-secret-to-taking-criticism-seriouslynot-personally

themuse.com

The Secret to Taking Criticism Seriously-Not Personally
Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing Hillary Clinton speak at the annual Women in the World Summit. My second favorite moment of the talk (after moderator Thomas Friedman asked her if there "were any other jobs she'd be interested in") was her biggest piece of advice to young professionals: "It's important to take criticism seriously-not personally."

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Criticism can be positive

Criticism can be positive

Knowing where you’re not meeting expectations and understanding the negative perceptions others have of you is the only way you’ll learn and grow as a professional.

It is also important not to let every harsh word or critique break your confidence.

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How to approach and process any piece of criticism

  • Make two lists: Things they’re wrong about and things that they might be right about.
  • Next time you get feedback, make three columns: 1. What they said, 2. what’s ‘wrong’ with the feedback and 3. what might be right. 
  • Look at column three, and ask yourself: If this feedback was 100% true, what would I need to do with it? If someone I knew received this feedback, what would I tell him or her to do?

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Keep yourself informed and speak with conviction. Use words like “I am sure” vs. tentative words like “I think, I hope and I feel.” Use humor, even if it is self-deprecating.

Don’t: Confuse humor with bad joke telling. And don’t overdo on the self-deprecation to the point you push yourself out of the conversation that it takes away from who you are.

Use Body Language

Be open, approachable, gracious and graceful. Walk up to someone, smile, make eye contact, shake hands. Introduce yourself by saying your name.

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Criticism is a good thing

It illustrates what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, and what you can do to become better at your job.

No matter how good or how seasoned you are, there's always room to grow.

Dealing with criticism that cuts

  • Distance Yourself From the Situation to allow you to calm down. Do not react or take it personally. 
  • Try to Understand Your Boss's Intentions. Is he's upset with your performance or exceptionally stressed or prone to say things he doesn't fully mean?
  • Summarize the Criticism. Repeat back exactly what you think she's driving at. Try and word the criticism in a more positive light. "so you're saying I need to find a new work strategy so I can improve my performance?"
  • Explain Your Perspective. The more specific you can be here, the better. 

  • Engage in a Dialogue. Work together with your boss to hash out the unspoken details of the criticism.

  • Suggest an Action Plan and make sure to follow it.
  • Consider Giving Criticism of Your Own if the criticism is misdirected.  Tell your boss that his/her criticism was unwarranted or unhelpful, but suggest alternative strategies he/she can use in the future to make his/her criticism better.

Getting Negative Feedback

Getting Negative Feedback

... is not the best thing to happen at work. It normally leads to a racing mind, emotional discomfort and increased blood pressure.

We may try to defend ourselves, or brush aside the feedba...

It’s Not Personal

Unless it is completely uncalled for, negative feedback generally has the intention of informing us about our areas of improvement. If feedback isn’t provided, you may not grow and improve. If no one tells you that you are doing something wrong, you will keep doing it wrongly forever.

Providing timely feedback may be a sign that the manager cares and wants you to improve.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

One should not be defensive when provided with negative feedback, and understand that it is for our own good.

One needs to act on the feedback by approaching it from a neutral and objective standpoint, not taking it as a personal attack. Instead of reacting, just pause and listen. Reflect on the feedback, giving yourself some time and space to respond with a level head.