Receiving Criticism: Tip #3

27 Nov

Avoid responding defensively and keep your emotions in check

Taking control as the receiver means that if you typically get defensive when criticism is delivered, you may find it helpful to say nothing.  When you’ve had a chance to think about the situation you can also go back to the giver and calmly discuss things further.  Again, it is helpful- especially where criticism is involved- to avoid letting your emotions rule.

 

If you do not exert any control over your emotions when being criticized, you will more than likely say something that you will regret later.  Learning how to accept criticism as information without becoming defensive is a very important communication skill.

 

Here’s an all too familiar situation where avoiding the tendency of speaking first proved to be beneficial.

Amber has spend several hours working on a project over the weekend for her boss, Sandra. When meeting with Sandra on Monday, Amber feels very prepared and excited to discuss the project.  Unexpectedly, after presenting the information, Sandra says, “I think you need to do some more work… I don’t think we are able to make a decision based on what you are telling me”.  Amber begins to feel her face turn red as her stress level rises. Rather than express her feelings of frustration, Amber takes a deep breath, says nothing, and thinks to herself, “this is only information… even though I did spend a lot of time on this, it is not about me, or my life… it is a project that needs more work”. 

 

More than likely, if Amber said what she was thinking at that moment, she would have regretted it later. The consequences could have been detrimental to her career and/or her relationship with her boss.  If after the criticism exchange Amber feels as if she needs to discuss anything further with her boss, she can set up a meeting at a later time. After all, unbeknownst to many people, it’s the receiver who is in control! Amber can always go back to her boss and clear the air.

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