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There is no denying that giving criticism can be difficult as you never quite know how somebody is going to respond. But being on the receiving end of criticism can be even more complicated as you are emotionally invested in your own success.
Even though deep down you logically understand the need for constructive criticism, hearing it being spoken out loud by another individual can be uncomfortable. It is instinctive for us to automatically go on the defensive when something negative is being said about us. To take criticism on board, you need to fight that instinct and do the exact opposite.
Pause before you speak
Before you speak, stop. Do not let that first thought come out of your mouth until you have a moment to hear and understand what is being said. If you feel the need to speak, listen some more. Your first and possibly even your second thoughts may be reactive to the situation and this may not help you at all.
Focus on your breathing
Breathe. Remain calm and breathe some more.
Remember that criticism of any kind should be welcome and you should accept it, regardless of the source it is coming from. Once the person has finished sharing the feedback, focus again on your breathing while you formulate your response.
Now, thank them because as I stated earlier, giving criticism is no easy undertaking, either.
Ask questions and acknowledge
If you have any questions about anything you have heard up to this point, now is the time to ask. Gaining clarity around the situation will help you understand why the feedback was given and what you can do about it.
Once you understand the criticism, acknowledge its worth, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
Keep your emotions in check throughout the entire exchange.
Strive to do better
Now that you have the feedback, set yourself some goals to improve on. If you are late, aim to be early. If you made an error, make sure you always double check your work before sending. Then next time you meet with your superior, let them know that you took what was said on board and have been working hard to ensure that it never happens again.
When you walk out of the meeting, pat yourself on the back for being able to accept criticism gracefully. By no means is it an easy task. When you are on the receiving end of feedback, good or bad, you should always try to do better. As we are our own worst enemies at times, it is important not to beat yourself up when negative criticism heads your way. This is not a time for self-doubt but self-empowerment. Use the situation to your advantage and show them what you are made of.
To learn more about delivering criticism, improving self-awareness and conflict resolution, visit our website. We offer a host of eCourses, which are tailored for the modern businesswoman to bring out you best.