Three Power Steps for Responding to Criticism
by John Eric Jacobsen
In my entire career I have never met anyone who enjoyed being criticized. Have you? Do you enjoy being criticized? Worse; have you ever been criticized by a blatant imbecile who has the people skills of a brain damaged Neanderthal? I’ve met many of these.
The truth is that receiving criticism can provide valuable feedback positively altering the quality of your life and career. Criticism is an amazing tool that can put you on a higher road, save you time, help you look better, and prevent you from making mistakes that could be career damaging. Although we may not always like what we hear; learning to respond with grace and dignity to criticism can help us build a very strong character. In my corporate seminars I teach the attendees 3 power steps for responding to criticism. The purpose of these steps is to help you use criticism to your advantage, rather than it dragging you through the valley of embarrassment and self-pity.
Step One – Become a Student
It is imperative for you to remember and constantly focus on the fact that when you are being criticized you become a student. Apparently you are about to learn something about yourself or your behavior that you were not aware of earlier and you need to adopt the attitude of a student. You are about to learn something that can help you in the future. If you constantly keep in mind that the information you are about to receive can help you, it will be less likely that you’ll get upset, angry or defensive. Remember becoming angry, defensive, or self-justifying only teaches your critic where your weaknesses are and how to hurt or upset you again in the future. Simply SHUT UP and POLITELY LISTEN WITHOUT INTERRUPTION!
Step Two – Politely Respond
After your critic has had his say, then it is your turn to politely respond. This can be done by simply paraphrasing back to the person what you think you’ve just heard and how you feel about it. This is the perfect time to explain the reasons for your behavior or lapse in judgment. If you have unintentionally hurt someone it’s also the perfect time for an apology. Keep focusing on your breathing and remaining calm. Clenching your fists or grinding your teeth is also not recommended. Keep your eye contact gentle and even thank them for bringing this valuable information to your attention. Simply saying, “Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention,” can work wonders and give you that star quality.
Step Three – State Your Future Intentions
Now that you’ve heard and politely acknowledged your critic, the most professional way to terminate the discussion is to state your positive future intentions. This can be a short polite chat on how you’ll utilize the newly disclosed information for everyone’s benefit. Remember revealing your future intention is an acknowledgment that you have fully understood the criticism and you are planning to make the necessary changes to the very best of your ability. It’s important however that you do not fall into the trap of promising something that you cannot deliver. Be sure your future intention helps to resolve the issue and is something you can easily follow through on.
I wish you luck & success!
About the Author: John Eric Jacobsen was born to teach and destined to be a writer & motivator. In 1985 John founded “Jacobsen Business Programs, Inc.” (JacobsenPrograms.com), a corporate seminar company helping people to succeed personally and professionally.
John’s experience is what sets him apart. With a diverse background in business, sales, communications, theatrical arts, dance and acting; John has the unique ability to not only be a great teacher, but also an amazing entertainer who can keep your attention. He has trained and worked with over a half a million people and has performed or taught all over America on stage and on TV.
John has also authored the national seller, Conversations on Customer Service & Sales. This is an amazing work designed to help businesses improve their sales and enhance consumer relations. John is proud to have the great Brian Tracy as a co-author.