Sunday, March 21, 2010

Accepting Feedback: Are You Open For Constructive Criticism?

Accepting Feedback: Situation Critical
Reprinted: Article

We'll all likely get "lots of criticism in our lifetime," says Hunter Nuttall, so we should know how to deal with it. Writing for motivation and self-improvement site, Nuttall explores "The Art of Taking Criticism" and suggests

starting by checking "the critic's motives"
and not taking the bait if critics "just want

to provoke a reaction. " Respond to vague

complaints by asking "what you can do better.

" To be truly helpful, he notes, critics "need to come up with specifics."

And "If the critic doesn't know the whole story, talk to them about it." Nuttall recommends saying something like, "You know, I hear what you're saying, and I'd really like to be able to do it that way. But the last time I tried something like that, it didn't work because _________.

How can I get around that?" Finally, don't get defensive. "If someone tells you something you can improve, they've done you a favor." So thank them.

While "all criticism hurts," acknowledges Judith Sills in the Psychology Today article "Criticism: Taking the Hit," the first rule – especially when you're on the receiving end of negative feedback in the professional world – is to "sit back and take it in." Use the active listening tactic of "rephrasing the criticism. Mirroring under the fire of critical assault requires calm focus, but it works like magic to make the boss stop browbeating you." This also lets you move "on to what you think and how you can use the negative information to your own advantage.

Then give "yourself a maximum of 72 hours to sulk" and ask "yourself three key questions:
 What part of this is true?
Have I ever heard this before?
What would I have to give up if I changed?"

She notes, "The answers won't necessarily come easily, but your thinking will be directed toward professional development…" And Sills suggests remembering "criticism's secret compliment: It comes most readily when you are moving up."
In his College Student Journal piece "Constructive Criticism: A Tool for Improvement," Ken Petress emphasizes, "All suggestions do not have to be followed; however, when the critic is a thoughtful, representative member of your eventual audience, it is wise to give added weight to implicit messages that your premise, intention, or strategy may be flawed." And he adds, "If one asks for criticism, that request needs to be honestly sought and graciously received."

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