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In an interview with New Statesman, Winston S. Churchill once noted,
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.”
Why exactly is this thing called criticism so contentious? The honest truth is that many of us fear it since it places us in the situation in which people, familiar or acquaintance, shed light on our flawed realities. I can admit to having this fear, and in choosing this particular topic, I will have learned a lesson along side with you.
Have you ever been told “Hey, the way you are carrying this out isn’t right.”
How does this make us feel?
We get worked up and uncomfortable in our own skin. It may even go to lengths of stirring up an argument with the person offering criticism.
Because it hurts our pride to be told that we are wrong.
“ME? Wrong? No, that never happens.” I’ll cut the sugar coating and say that we are all just bunch of roaming know-it-alls. The problem is rooted within us and digging into that idea will enable us to change it.
This is a phenomenon that naturally occurs in all relationships but in the context of our careers, at some point we will work on projects that require a group effort. Being imperfect humans, we are bound to bump heads in attempting to bring those game changing ideas into existence. The most effective way to take on this challenge is simply by viewing it as another opportunity for personal/team growth, which can benefit us individuals and the relationships we form with others.
1. Develop a mindset of acceptance.
This sounds generic and outplayed but not without reason. Accept that each of us has insecurities, flaws, strengths, room for improvement… and remain humble to that idea when giving and receiving criticism. Grasping this concept will go as far as suppressing that hostile reaction we give off when being critiqued and allow for the benefit of criticism to swing in-GROWTH.
2. Empathy will make it easier to listen for understanding.
Once you are able to relate with people on this level, hear the person out without interruption. Take into account the perspective they have provided and use it as a tool. In several cases it is a perspective we have subconsciously neglected. They might have worked up the courage to be this open and truthful with you.
3. Seek clarity through the form of healthy communication.
Have you ever wondered what it was like to meet yourself from someone else’s view? Ask questions to create a more in depth conversation. Take advantage of this chance to learn something new about yourself. Vice versa. This moment could be the basis which will define your relationship with them, strive to make it an honest and constructive one (read here to see why great communication is key).
4. Reflect: Choose to utilize or agree to disagree
You have full control over whether or not to make changes based off of this criticism you’ve received. It is perfectly acceptable if you agree to disagree with someone who has offered their constructive criticism, but there are appropriate ways to do so. Regardless of your decision, a “thank you” is necessary. Someone cared enough to start a potentially awkward and uncomfortable situation with intentions of helping you.
I hope that by this time you get the whole idea I am trying to wrap your head around. Success in your workplace is geared through the interactions you have with those people you share and cultivate ideas with.
Plant that seed in your mind, remain empathetic to the fact that we are all flawed, and be open for improvement in different forms. Any journey towards that attainable success whether it be at an interview, your new job, starting your own company, having that company flourish, etc. begins with the relationships we make with people. Read more for tips on how to take criticism like a champ.
This is only one piece of the puzzle towards becoming the productivity driven person we all aspire to be. Prosky wants to help students find that passion and tackle it head on. One way to discover new passions is to try out new things! Start in the comforts of your own room by taking an online training course, ProSky offers a variety of courses! Continue to thrive and subscribe to Prosky’s blog here.