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How Smart People Respond to Constructive Criticism

Stop Your First Reaction

At the first sign of criticism, before you do anything—stop. Try not to react at all.

Even a few seconds are enough for your brain to process a situation:  you can halt a dismissive facial expression or reactive quip and remind yourself to stay calm.

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How Smart People Respond to Constructive Criticism

How Smart People Respond to Constructive Criticism

https://www.themuse.com/advice/taking-constructive-criticism-like-a-champ

themuse.com

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Key Ideas

Remember the Benefits of Getting Feedback

Namely, to improve your skills, work product, and relationships, and to help you meet the expectations that your manager and others have of you.

Also, try to cut back any reaction you're having to the person who is delivering the feedback, even if it's hard to receive criticism from someone you don't fully respect.

Listen for Understanding

As the person shares feedback with you, listen closely. Allow the person to share their complete thoughts, without interruption. When they’re done, repeat back what you heard.

Avoid analyzing or questioning the person’s assessment; instead, just focus on understanding his or her comments and perspective.

Deconstruct the Feedback

Ask questions to get to the root of the actual issues being raised and possible solutions for addressing them:

  • Seek specific examples to help you understand the issue.
  • Try to understand whether this is an isolated issue.
  • Look for concrete solutions to address the feedback.

Constructive Criticism

It's often the only way we learn about our weaknesses and without it, we can’t improve. When we’re defensive, we run the risk of missing out on this important insight.

Feedback’s not easy to give and it’s certainly not easy to receive, but it’ll help us now and in the long run.

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3. Be Specific With Your Feedback

The more specific your feedback, the more actionable it is for the one receiving it. Example: Asking for an article on communication is vague while asking for one on public speaking is speci...

4. Comment On Actionable Things

To help people improve talk about things they can do something about, rather than those out of their control. Critiquing the former makes your criticism constructive; critiquing the latter makes the person feel bad as they can’t do anything about it, even if they want to.

Understand the person’s situation and his/her objectives, then provide your critique based on that. And if you need to talk about something out of their control, balance it out by talking about things they can control.

5. Give Improvement Recommendations

Give recommendations on what the person can do to improve so they have a clear idea of what you have in mind and get a strong call-to-action.

With your recommendations, (a) be specific with your suggestions and (b) briefly explain the rationale behind the recommendation. Also, try to limit examples to one per point to make your case more impactful.

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9 Tips To Give Constructive Criticism
  1. Use the "feedback sandwich" method when advising. Give a positive comment, then the feedback that could potentially be construed as criticism, and finish by reiterating the positive. Th...
Constructive Criticism

However needed it may be, people often view criticism as hurtful and feel attacked. And that puts them on the defensive, meaning they won’t be able to truly absorb what’s being criticized.

That’s why constructive criticism is a helpful skill to develop when dealing with other people. Knowing how to do it drastically affects how the message is received.

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.

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