Last week we examined how vocalizing your agreement to elements of the criticism makes you appear balanced, rational, receptive to what is being communicated and open to changing where necessary. This week we look at how to wrap up the conversation in such a way that it leaves everyone involved feeling not only heard and understood but appreciated also.
The following steps are only relevant to situations where you believe the criticism not to be malicious put downs. Remember valid criticism can still be delivered in an accusatory way and that it is the content of what has been said – not the delivery – you need to focus on.
Finally apologize for the part you had to play, mentioning whether there were any consequences to your actions that you regret, such as upsetting or offending others.
Ask for Feedback
Ask the person delivering the criticism how they think you could have handled the situation better and really listen to their answer. Then think how you might approach the situation differently in future and communicate this, taking on board any suggestions you feel are appropriate.
Say Thank You
Say thank you to the person who offered the criticism, say that you appreciate it is not an easy thing to do and briefly explain that you are grateful you now have a greater level of self awareness (such as insight into how your behavior impacts others, is perceived or can contribute to difficulties).
What to do Moving Forwards
Problem solve and brainstorm how you will better deal with similar situations in future, taking into account any ideas that were offered to you or you thought of during the conversation. For more on problem solving please read my article titled ‘How to navigate any problem with ease’.
Being open to criticism doesn’t come naturally for most of us, myself included, and when I started to practice these steps it was difficult as I had to let go of my ego and pride. But the more I practiced them, the easier it became and I have no doubt you will find this true for you too. Indeed, by using these steps you are disarming those criticizing you, identifying malicious put downs, diffusing any conflict and taking the opportunity to gain more self awareness and grow into your best self.
Though it may feel like you are making yourself more vulnerable in actual fact you are taking back your personal power and control of an otherwise potentially volatile conversation.
So the next time someone criticizes you don’t get defensive or shout back and disregard it out of hand, choose rather to keep calm and follow the steps – not only may you gain insight into ways you can develop into your best self, you will emerge as a mature and rational individual who others can’t help but respect!
Have you found this series helpful? How do you think you will handle receiving criticism in future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
Stay tuned – next month’s hot topic is called ‘Why spending could be damaging your dreams; How to create a budget that supports your life goals’.
‘The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt’ by Deb Bright, PhD