As a leader you stand out from the crowd and, guess what, none of us are perfect.
When you are under the spotlight – even when the light is being shone by your own relatively small group – sometimes, you will receive criticism!
Some of it will be fair and some not.
If you learn to deal with it positively you will soon be able to stand back, see what is valid, and ignore the rest.
You will be able to use it to your advantage and that of your group!
There are characteristics that make us better and worse at dealing with criticism.
- Mental Attitude – Positive people don’t let criticism take a grip. Instead they look on the bright side, try to learn from it and then move on. When you are feeling negative, you can feel it deeply and begin to obsess about it. It can erode your morale and that of your group, so stay positive.
- Courage – As Winston Churchill said “It takes courage to sit down and listen”. It will disarm your critics if you listen to them attentively and with openness. In those circumstances they are much more likely to give you a balanced view that could provide valuable feedback.
- Hierarchy – Be prepared to listen and learn from criticism from any part of your organization and from customers and suppliers. It sometimes helps to regard it as free consultancy! You’ll be amazed how much respect you can gain from quite junior members of your team if you are prepared to listen and respond positively to their ideas including their criticisms. Disappointed customers respond well to being given a hearing and an apology for an honest mistake.
- Emotional Intelligence – Being able to relate with positive emotion to your team is a key ingredient in inspiring them to success. That includes being able to recognise and acknowledge their emotions even when they are mad with you. Recognize it for what it is; empathise with it. Answer it positively and then move on. Have the grace to say sorry if, as a result of your action, someone on your team has found their work more difficult!
As for me, I have always been pretty thin skinned and found criticism quite challenging to deal with. But over the years, I’ve managed to train myself to take a far more balanced view. I would love to know what your experience has been and how you have dealt the criticism you have encountered.
- Making a Different Choice: Choosing a Different Way of Responding Rather Than Our Patterned Way of Responding (courageandchoice.wordpress.com)
- Understanding Negative Emotions (schoolpsychologyblog.com)
- Can You Lead With Your Heart? (geoffreywebb.wordpress.com)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her firstname.lastname@example.org or ring ++44(0)7867681439