Responding to Criticism

How do you want others to respond when you give them critical feedback?

  • Crushed
  • Defensive 
  • Dismissive 
  • Open and Appreciative

Open and appreciative, right? 

How great would it be if we could give others feedback without walking on eggshells? 

Shouldn’t we respond the same way?

This exercise highlights hypocritical behavior we’re not aware of and provides insight into how to respond when receiving criticism.

Everyone feels defensive when criticized, and of course, criticism feels differently than praise. 

While it’s natural to feel defensive, we don’t have to act that way. After all, don’t we want feedback so we can improve?

You can use VP’s 3-Steps to process your emotions and respond productively. 

Step 1 – Expect the Expected: Bosses, family members, and many others will provide critical feedback. A world without feedback makes no sense. Expect feedback and expect it to cause emotion.

Step 2 – Apply SEE: Criticism causes emotions, and you don’t want to suppress them. 

Separate – Defensive emotions are chemical projections designed to give you a message. 

Embrace – Criticism should not feel the same as praise; they’re different messages. Your emotions provide valuable information, so experience and thank them.

Evaluate – Whether it’s given from someone who is well-intended or someone who wants to make you feel bad, criticism is simply information that may or may not be useful. Consider if you can learn something regardless of the source or the way it was delivered. 

Step 3 – Control the Controllable: You can’t control the amount of criticism or praise you receive. You can’t control your emotional impulses. However, you can control your response. You likely feel defensive, but you don’t have to act that way. You can respond in the way you would like people to respond to your feedback, with openness and appreciation. 

Improvement requires feedback, and following these steps will help process criticism to accelerate your performance.

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