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16 Tips to Survive Brutal Criticism (and Ask for More)

Tips to Survive Brutal Criticism (and Ask for More)

“You suck.”

Everyone encounters criticism, whether it is a boss pointing out falling
performance, a bad review for your book, or even self-criticism after an
embarrassing slip-up. Your ability to digest that criticism and make use of it
says a lot about your character. Even better is to be the kind of person who
can take a sharp, verbal critique, stand up and ask for more.

People are Too Nice

Most people won’t tell you what they think of you. And if they do want
to slide you some honesty, it is usually wrapped in a sugar coating. Why then,
with our compulsion to smooth the truth, does it hurt to be on the back end of
an honest opinion?

I believe it is because most of us have shied away from getting honesty our
whole lives. As a result, we haven’t trained the ability to recognize
that a criticism of our behaviors, results or efforts isn’t a criticism
of ourselves. Once you train yourself to notice the separation, you can start
using any criticism thrown your way and actively seek more of it.

Honesty is a Good Thing, Here’s How to Survive It

Here are some tips for surviving the floods of good intentions that might
crash upon your ego:

  1. Balance
    – The salience effect is a cognitive bias where
    we tend to focus on the most recent or memorable piece of information,
    ignoring the collective. Whenever you get a piece of criticism, you need
    to balance it by recognizing that this is just one tiny critique out of
    all feedback. Don’t exaggerate it’s impact on who you are.

  2. Get
    Them to Focus on Behavior
    – If you are in the middle of an
    evaluation, try directing the person onto your specific behaviors, not
    you. Tell them you are interested in hearing their suggestions and ask for
    positive ideas for improving your methods.

  3. There
    is No Absolute Feedback
    – Part of the sting comes from
    converting feedback, which is entirely relative, into absolutes. If
    someone told a stand-up comedian he wasn’t funny after a show, that
    would probably mean he wasn’t as funny as other comedians that
    person likes. It doesn’t mean he is objectively, the most unfunny
    person who ever existed.

  4. It’s
    Opinion, Not Fact
    – The only benefit of feedback is if it
    illuminates weaknesses or strengths you suspected but hadn’t
    realized. You always have the option to disagree with criticism.

  5. Don’t
    Ask for Honesty When You Want Support
    – Don’t ask
    people for honest feedback if you plan to tune out anything but praise.
    Notice your internal state when you want feedback. Do you want help or
    validation? Get clear, otherwise you might get an unexpected critique.

  6. Flip
    it to Positive
    – Guide the person towards making
    suggestions for improvement rather than pointing out flaws. It’s
    easier to hear: “You should try slowing when you deliver a
    speech,” rather than, “I couldn’t understand anything
    you said!”

  7. Don’t
    – I once saw on a famous speaker’s blog
    comments a verbal insult from someone. The speaker responded by continuing
    the attack and redirecting it at his assailant. I felt this showed a lack
    of maturity by bringing himself down to the level of the man who insulted
    him. You’ll look more secure and confident if you can redirect and
    brush aside criticism than if you engage in an argument.

  8. Train
    Your Ego
    – My suggestion is to actively run towards as
    much harsh criticism as you can. It will desensitize you to the bite of
    one particular comment and give you the ability to see yourself more

Now that you have some pain-killers for the attack, here’s how to ask
for more:

  1. Say
    – Some companies pay consultants millions of
    dollars to come by and show them how they are doing a bad job. At least
    some people will do it for free. Thank them so you don’t have to pay
    heavy consultant bills later.

  2. Honesty
    – Develop a policy for honesty where you encourage
    people who give you honest feedback. I’ve wrote about this topic
    several times on my blog, and I’ve gotten many suggestions from
    readers who prefaced their ideas with, “I’m saying this
    because I know you won’t take it personally.” How many ideas
    would I have lost if I hadn’t created an honesty policy?

  3. Don’t
    – In the face of criticism, you might feel the
    urge to explain or justify yourself. My advice is to avoid it unless it is
    specifically asked from you. The reason is that justification not only
    admits your insecurity, but it makes the other person think you
    aren’t listening.

  4. Experiment
    with Embarrassment
    – If you aren’t making a fool of
    yourself routinely, you probably aren’t being ambitious enough. Take
    criticism as a sign that you are experimenting regularly.

  5. Give
    People the Sugar
    – Give people the sugar-coating, so they
    can give the honest suggestions. Frame questions so they can deliver
    feedback in a non-offensive manner. “What could I have most
    improved?” “If you had
    to say something, what did you like least?”

  6. Be
    – If someone criticizes, translate them into
    positive suggestions and discuss it with them. The translation informs the
    person that you have a thick-skin and are using the advice.

  7. “Thanks,
    I’ll think about that.”
    – Five words to end
    the conversation and give yourself time to process any particularly
    crushing information. This keeps you from starting an argument with a
    person which can only defeat an honesty policy.

  8. “I
    Understand, But Disagree.”
    – Those four words are
    your only comeback. I’ve had people tell me I should stop writing,
    speaking or change something I felt strongly about. Calmly stating those
    four words shows the person that it isn’t a topic of discussion, but
    shows everyone else that you are open to all suggestions.

From: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/16-tips-to-survive-brutal-criticism-and-ask-for-more.html



Yours Truly

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. ambati
    October 27, 2007 at 6:24 am

    Nowadays you are thinking more about the people surrounding you.
    The ideas whatever you are giving are very nice and they are thought provoking.

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