How to Respond to Criticism

It has been said that critics are "do nothing" people. If you are trying to accomplish anything great, you will be criticized by those who are doing nothing.

Your motives will be questioned and your character may be assaulted.

As a result, you will need to develop the self-confidence and thick skin to handle criticism constructively. If you are overly sensitive to the opinions and criticisms of others, you will end up feeling inadequate, and will become ineffective.

You simply must ignore any empty fault-finding and refuse to be swayed by the chiding and criticism of others. Take these steps to successfully handle criticism on the job and in life.

Acknowledge that you heard the criticism yet consider the source. Let the person and others who may be listening know that you heard what was said without commenting.

Wisely consider from whom it is coming. There is a definite difference between genuine, constructive comments prompted by a loving concern from a friend and habitual complaining from a malcontent. Chronic critics are those individuals who go out of their way to find fault with fresh ideas, new procedures, or original thinking. They tear down rather than build up and in the process often attack the individual rather than the problem or issue.

Maintain your dignity. Don't dwell on the criticism or become defensive. Defensiveness almost always results in an emotional reaction rather than a rational response. When criticized, a natural reaction is to become defensive and fight back, offering excuses for the behavior under attack. Avoid blaming and resist the urge to lash back or to launch a counterattack.

Consider the observation or comment. It's hard to see criticism as anything other than a threat. However you must see beyond it and consider the truth behind it. Ask yourself if the criticism is justified, and if it could be used to sharpen your effectiveness.

Exercise grace. Forget about getting even or seeking revenge. Don't retaliate. Respond in a way that will earn respect and show respect. Use non-verbal assertive communication.

Evaluate your progress. Each time you go through a situation where you encounter criticism, you should see recognizable growth in your ability to handle it and process it.