When someone in your team chooses to give you some “constructive” criticism, if you are anything like me, it may lead to you going into a little bit of a strop and being overly defensive. Of course this in turn is not constructive at all (nor is the criticism to start with I know …) but it then leads to an unnecessary ‘heated’ discussion which whether you are right or wrong is NOT productive, not to mention it completely saps your energy!
Before acting hastily, stop and take the time to think about what is actually being said. Perhaps the person saying it is not all that articulate or being unintentionally patronising and if spun into your own language, would it be as bad as you first thought? Besides, this little bit of extra thinking time will calm you down and you can prepare your response appropriately in one of the following ways:
- Don’t dismiss it – be succinct and explain why things are as they are, from your perspective, but take into consideration what they have said and plan it into your future actions.
- Agree with them – OK so this is easier said than done, especially when you are still seething inside because you really think you are right (but are you?). Maybe spin it just a little, for example say “I agree, and if we had all the time in the world on this project I would certainly do as you say, unfortunately we need to stick to the client deadlines”. The message is clear you understand what is being said but will still do things your way.
WARNING: don’t forget it is never a bad thing to heed advice, structure it in to your chosen path, remember you only “think” you’re right.
- Explain the options – Calmly talk through your plan and then theirs, highlighting the potential outcome of both (remember do not be patronising!). This shows acknowledgement of what has been said, yet gives them the responsibility to decide the final decision. Will they want that or will they agree with you?
Always remember why you got agitated in the first place. Was it the criticism, was it the tone in which it was said, or perhaps you just needed a coffee?
Your reaction will define the situation. Do not be patronising in your tone, be reasonable, don’t throw back criticism at them for the sake of it and the biggest thing to remember when using any of the above three points, you might, just might, be WRONG! If that is the case, it won’t hurt you to just admit it and agree to rectify the situation. Admitting someone else is right will earn you respect and next time they may just go a bit easier on you!
If this sounds all too familiar, we’ve added a link below to our Guide to Effective Communication, or perhaps if there are other issues at play, our Guide to Stress Management. Both are FREE to download… what are you waiting for!
If you’d prefer to talk to someone, give us a call on 0203 538 5311 and let us help.