I was once running a public seminar and a small group of attendees approached me about a particularly tricky member of their team. In a nutshell, they wanted my advice on how best to deal with this person.
My first question was ‘Well what have you done so far?’
Their reply staggered me.
‘Well we’ve tried the obvious.’
‘The obvious?’ I enquired.
‘Yeah – we’ve tried humiliation. But that didn’t work.’
Just think for a moment. I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of such an approach?
Giving feedback is a skill, particularly if it needs to be challenging and could be labelled ‘criticism.’
I’ve certainly had my fair share of criticism over the years, and I’ll be honest – it’s never easy to receive.
However, the danger is that when we receive criticism we react in two extremely unhelpful ways.
Either we simply choose to ignore it and dismiss it immediately, or we obsess about it to the point that it can become debilitating.
In my book Self Confidence I offer some advice on some questions to reflect on when you receive criticism. I appreciate a lot depends on the context of how and when the criticism is given, but I hope at least one of the following proves to be of value to you:
- What were the other person’s motives for giving it?
- Can I understand their perspective?
- Which, if any, of the criticism was valid?
- How defensive was I when receiving the criticism?
- What can I learn from both the criticism and how I responded to it?
- Would it be appropriate to thank my critic for their comments?
Giving challenging feedback is never easy. And some people do an appalling job of it.
Likewise, it can be hard to be criticised no matter how well intentioned it may be. But simply dismissing it or obsessing over it can be equally damaging.
Remember, criticism could be one of the greatest gifts you receive. Just make sure you handle it with care.
Until next time.
The SUMO Guy