Inviting Criticism

8 Mar

Another example of a “critoholic” – or the type of person who attracts criticism, is interestingly the person who flat out asks for the feedback or criticism.  This is best explored with the following off the job example:

Lydia is having a conversation with her friend Carrie. The conversation shifts to personal health and Lydia casually asks, “Am I too fat?  Be honest”.  Carrie responds by saying, “Well, you could stand to lose a few pounds”.  Lydia’s face turns red as she angrily replies to Carrie, “How can you say I need to lose weight!?”

How common is this scene: someone asks you a question and in so doing, expects an honest response.  However, when you provide the answer without holding back- the person gets upset… with you!  Naturally, after an exchange like that, we think to ourselves, “Well, if you don’t like my answer- then why did you ask the question?”

Obviously Lydia asked Carrie the question expecting to receive a more positive answer.  If you are seeking an honest response- it only makes sense that Lydia be prepared for the response whether it’s favorable or not.

The workplace is full of examples like the one above.  What about the person who writes a report and asks a peer for his opinion.  Here, the employee is clearly leaving himself wide open once again, to inviting an honest response which may include criticism from others- in this case, a peer.

When the opinion or feedback offered is negative criticism, it can be very helpful!

So, is there anything wrong with seeking opinions from others?

Absolutely not!

After all, asking others provides an outside, objective view that the person seeking the opinion may not have considered.

Where problems can potentially arise is when the opinion offered is not favorable criticism.  Further complications can arise when  the receiver suddenly becomes non- receptive and gets defensive or argumentative.

It is up to the person asking for the opinion or feedback to be prepared for the giver’s response- whether it’s positive or negative.  If the person’s feedback is negative, it’s important for the receiver to handle it effectively and stay open minded!  This allows for growth and development.  Unbeknownst to many people, it’s the receiver who’s in control; not the giver!  So the receiver can view what’s being said as “information” and can either accept or reject it!

The question the “critoholic” needs to ask is, “At this point in time, how much do I want to seek out feedback from others”.  After all, if you don’t ask, others won’t say anything!

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