It just doesn’t matter how well you live your life or what you think of yourself, but some day you are going to be judged. You will be judged, and feedback or criticism provided on you and your behavior. It doesn’t matter that the feedback/ criticism may be personal or professional…it matters that you were judged.Before we go into the tips to handle criticism or feedback better, let us understand how criticism affects us. Criticism or feedback can affect every part of our life adding stress to an already complicated life of ours. If we don’t handle criticism well, it has a snowballing effect. For instance, if you don’t take criticism well then you may be known as the guy in office that doesn’t take it well and may not be promoted as the manager.
One way (and the most common way) of looking at feedback or criticism is that someone is trying to project their insecurities or their negativity onto you but another way to look at it positively. Try and make something of the feedback / criticism received, evaluate it and act on it if the circumstances requires so.
Sheila Heen, author of the book “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Buy here)” says feedbacks can hit our desire to improve and grow, along with the need to be accepted the way we are. If you are looking to grow, we strongly recommend her book.
Tips to handle feedback and criticism
Criticism handling tip #1: Open your mind
Criticism or Feedback can make or break you, it all depends on how we see ourselves, says Heen. Look at yourself as a flexible person and accept that you have more flexibility than you think. If you have a mindset that says: “I am how I am.” You could be taking a simple feedback as a verdict about your true self. Accepting that you are flexible is the best way to accept feedback as a way to learn and grow.
Criticism handling tip #2: Be partially immune
Accepting feedback or criticism doesn’t mean you have to take it. All you need to do is make sure you don’t reject or let it control your head, says Heen. Knowing what to accept and which to ignore requires you to be strong and hear people out. Majority of feedback are vague so push for more specifics. Getting answers to the right questions will help you choose between accepting or rejecting criticism or the feedback.
Criticism handling tip #3: Be Specific
How you ask others for their feedback on yourself is a huge factor in determining if their responses will be useful. Vague questions will never help you and will only create misunderstandings says Heen. Instead, be more specific and be smart if you want to get useful criticism / feedback. Ask specific and clear questions and you’ll be pleased with the feedback you get.