Are you starting to notice that a lot of people seem to have opinions about how you should run your team or division?
It might be disguised as feedback, but it’s not advice on how you can improve. It’s just what you’re doing wrong and why it’s not right. Sometimes it might even be a suggestion on what you should be doing, even if you’re doing it already.
So how do you receive criticism like this while remaining respectful as a leader? It seems like it would be simple, but it can be difficult once the tenth person tells you what they think. When the 11th stops you while you’re walking down the halls, try these techniques.
What is the Difference Between Criticism and Feedback?
To understand the difference between criticism and feedback, you need to dissect what is being said. Is the person referring to something you’re doing wrong and listing all of the reasons why it’s not right? Listen to see if they’re offering any sort of advice or alternatives to consider.
If they are offering support or guidance on how to approach a situation, then this is feedback. It’s designed to improve you, and it’s coming from a good place. However, if they’re critical of what you’re doing and stating it’s not right without any sort of explanation, then this is criticism.
How You Should Receive Criticism as a Leader
Your initial response to criticism might be to get defensive. You might want to list everything you’re doing and create a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating why the other person is wrong. But this is not always the best move.
First, you need to evaluate the person providing the criticism. Is it someone whose opinion you value, or is it someone you didn’t know existed until now? If it is someone you respect, then open up the dialogue. Ask them for advice on how they have handled the same situation in the past. Now you’re in control of the conversation and turning it into a feedback discussion.
If you don’t know the person very well or it’s someone whose opinion you don’t respect, then simply thank them for their thoughts and that you’ll take it on board. You don’t need to worry about following through with anything they say. Often these people will never bring it up again, or you’ll never run into them.
The Best Way to Reduce Criticism
Throughout your career as a leader, you’re going to receive criticism. Unfortunately, it’s one of the aspects that come with the job. While you can never eliminate it entirely, you can reduce the volume that you have to listen to. All you have to do is produce the right outcomes.
Critics won’t have a leg to stand on if your team is performing and your team is exceeding business goals. So keep your head down and deliver what you need to for the interest of the company.
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