As a leader or manager, you are bound to receive criticisms from others… whether constructive or destructive. A criticism is considered constructive, if it is a helpful way of giving you feedback that provides you specific and actionable suggestions. The advice is therefore not general but rather consists of specific recommendations on how to make improvements on something important.
On the other hand, criticism is considered destructive when the criticism is performed with the intention to harm you, destroy your creation, prestige, reputation and self-esteem. It’s usually intended to ridicule, damage, destroy and bring a person down. It’s pretty malicious in intention.
Now, knowing the difference, the question now is, “Are you responding to criticisms properly?
You see, first, as a leader, people will always criticize your work or your intentions. The hardest part is when your credibility is questioned. So then what do you do if this happens to you?
The key is this: a true leader does not respond to criticism negatively as a knee jerk reaction; rather, he or she should pull back a little and see the issues raised as an opportunity to improve.
To respond to criticisms like a pro, here are 5 suggestions for you to consider:
Silence is the first thing to do when faced with criticism. Being silent gives the impression to those providing constructive criticism that you are paying attention. On the other hand, it tells those providing destructive criticism that you are “made of steel” and “very resilient with alligator skin”.
Avoid Reacting Impulsively
Criticism is a test of a leader’s patience, it says so much about the maturity and the quality of his or her leadership. Avoid impulsive reactions to protect the reputation you have built over the years. Not reacting immediately gives you time to examine and make accurate and helpful judgements.
Assess before you react
When faced with criticism, a leader must know how to evaluate it whether it is constructive or destructive, and then roll out an action plan based on proper judgement. Taking time to evaluate prevents you from saying things that you will live to regret after you have said them. Always remember, that you can never withdraw your words once you’ve uttered them! Scary right… Yes!
Thank the person criticizing you
Saying thank you is the most refined way to address criticism. It builds a lasting impression in people’s minds that you are in control over things. Thanking someone for their criticism also helps to prevent the “conflict” from spreading to those associated with you in your team or organization.
Dr. Gerald Amandu, PhD
Leadership Coach and Business Advisor CEO & Founder, Gerald Amandu Success Academy