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How Should You React To Criticism

Human beings are naturally defensive. Yes, you should defend your character and integrity. But defend yourself in a way that demonstrates your leadership. It could be about a product or a social media post, Some criticism may be valid, but mean-spirited criticism is uncalled for, which people can fall into the trap of snapping back when being criticized. Here are few ways to respond to criticism and maintain your self-respect:

1. Listen before you speak.

When you have been criticized, your gut reaction may be to defend your actions or intentions. Try to listen before you speak. Take a deep breath. Speaking without listening could escalate the situation. If the other person does not feel like they have been heard, they may get even more frustrated and make it more difficult to come to a resolution.

It takes courage to listen. Listen to learn and understand. The better you understand where the person is coming from, the better you will be able to address the situation. People recognize leaders by how well they listen for understanding.

2. Ask questions.

Now, when responding, start with questions. It is easy to go into attack mode. But questions help you stay clear of forceful or confrontational language and assertions. By asking genuine questions, motivated by curiosity and caring, you will solve the problem easily

Ask questions to clarify the situation and confirm your understanding. Consider phrases like “I’m hearing [X], is that accurate?,” “It sounds like [X], does that sound right?,” “I’d like to better understand [X], would you share more?” or “You feel [X], is that correct?” Ask for feedback, and set the tone for a dialogue.

3. Focus On The Facts

There are three sides to every story – your side, their side and what actually happened. People appreciate it when they see others strive to be objective, sometimes because they themselves have a hard time being objective. Model the way you hope the discussion to go by staying calm and sticking to the facts.

But don’t be rigid. You can show that you are human and empathetic with an apology, if it is warranted. A little emotion can let the other person know that you are trying to understand how they feel.

4. Talk with another person to gain perspective.

If you have the opportunity and feel comfortable, share the situation with a colleague, friend or family member. This third person might be able to look at the situation more objectively than you. They can ask questions that make you think about the situation in a different way. Perspective can make the scenario feel less personal and will allow you to respond more effectively.

5. Reflect on the situation that led to the criticism.

In addition to getting someone else’s perspective on the situation, try to gain clarity on your own. Consider your perspective, the critic’s perspective and the third party’s perspective. You may be able to identify something that triggered the scenario.

6. Smile

Wear a smile even if it’s a false one, for this will help you to relax. A smile will create a positive feeling and lighten the situation. Thus, a smile helps you psychologically and motivate the critic to be moderate in their approach.

Sometimes, someone’s criticism towards you has nothing to do with you. If a stranger is criticizing you on social media, for example, sometimes it is best not to respond. Other times, don’t be dismissive and think it is someone else’s problem. Be human. Listen. Ask questions. Lead.

Criticism can be hard to take. It may not feel as bad if you see it as a learning experience. Remember to listen, ask questions, focus on the facts, communicate by phone or in-person and gain perspective. Reflecting on how you respond to criticism will make you better at addressing criticism the next time.

Thank every person who offers you meaningful feedback, for they want you to succeed. Although it may hurt to know what you did wrong, understand their motives, and thank them

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