BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top - How to deal with criticism

BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top - How to deal with criticism - Keep your cool. Listen without showing any negative or defensive emotions (difficult but essential).

by Octavius Black, managing director of The Mind Gym,www.themindgym.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Keep your cool. Listen without showing any negative or defensive emotions (difficult but essential).

Summarise the key points. Outline what the other person has said to make sure you've understood them correctly and also to show that you have taken it all in.

Ask questions. The more specific the criticism, the more helpful. Find out what you did and when that gave them their impression.

Prioritise. Criticism is rarely groundless, but often exaggerated. Decide which elements are useful and thus what you can do differently to be more effective.

Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how the person who seems to be criticising you looks at the world. Could they have been trying to help? Are they under pressure themselves? Think about why they have these views about you.

Get them on your side. Ask those who criticise you for their advice.

By making them part of the solution (as mentor, coach or whatever) they are less likely to criticise you in future.

Be grateful. Thank people who criticise you. Not only have they given you free information but you will also disarm them (and they are likely to think better of you immediately, which can't be bad).

Think of the positive. Reframe criticism that focuses on what went badly.

Consider what positive steps you can take to improve in the future.

Hit the punchbag, not the person. If you're angry, take it out on something, not someone. It's understandable to be annoyed, but not very useful.

Give compliments. Praise others for what they do well. It will give you the moral high ground and make you popular (as well as reinforcing productive behaviours).

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