3 Ways to Handle Criticism

We all have room for improvement. And we all want to get it right the first time. All too often, this results in conflict. Here are some tips on how to handle that.

1) Accept that you’re not going to get it right the first time, every time.
Life is one big learning experience, and sometimes we just screw up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find a new approach to whatever didn’t work. People are more likely to overlook your errors if you acknowledge them and look for solutions.

2) Recognize that it is not “My way or the highway.” There are lots of solutions. Is yours the best? Maybe. Maybe not. When someone disagrees with your idea or approach, focus on what is best for your project, rather than what is best for your ego. If your way is best, be prepared to demonstrate why. If it’s just “your way,” consider the merits of “their way.”

3) Consider the source. Sometimes the criticism comes from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and isn’t a stakeholder. The comment is still worth considering, because someone with an outside view may have a perspective you don’t, and can’t. But if the criticism is based on a lack of familiarity with project goals, organizational mission, or previous decisions, then it’s probably fine to let it lie.

Please note that #3 is not a license for rudeness. Being a jerk will come back to haunt you.

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Posted on June 20, 2011, in Work and Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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