Stop Your First Reaction - Deepstash
Stop Your First Reaction

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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MORE IDEAS FROM How Smart People Respond to Constructive Criticism

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.

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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.

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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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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.

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RELATED IDEA

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 specific.

An specific feedback that doesn’t target the person is easier to understand and act upon. 

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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 feedback. We can also be stuck in a loop of negative thoughts.

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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. That way the criticism is "sandwiched" between two positives, making it seem less harsh.
  2. Focus on the situation, not the person. This helps preventing the other person from feeling attacked.
  3. Think about timing when you give feedback. When emotions are running high people tend to become less receptive to criticism.
  4. Use A "Straw Man" to illustrate your point. "Try to give the critique through a personal anecdote or an inspiring story of someone famous who went through the same thing.
  5. Offer specific suggestions. This keeps the discussion focused and gives the other person a concrete area of improvement.
  6. Keep your language positive and avoid negative statements. It helps to set the tone of the entire exchange.
  7. Stick to "I" statements. Using "I feel" statements over more accusatory "you" statements works.
  8. Be conscious of your tone. If you're coming off as stern, or angry, that may trigger someone’s defenses.
  9. Think about if it really needs to be said, or if it doesn't need to come from you. Sometimes it's better not to say it. Nothing can be more off-putting than unsolicited advice.

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