Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to handle criticism?

We often face criticism. In our personal life as well as professional. In fact, where-ever we interact with other persons, there are chances we might face criticism. Now don't confuse criticism with harassment. Harassment is NOT even superlative degree of criticism. Lets start with understanding it.

What is criticism?

Criticism is others showing disagreement or disapproval of our ideas or actions. It usually consist of pointing out of our mistakes and shortcomings (of our actions/ideas). Though there are various direct and indirect forms of criticisms, we generally get the idea when it is and what. So instead of trying more on defining it, lets jump straight to handling it. That's what I think would be more relevant to you too.

How to handle it?

Whenever you face criticism, you should first realize that others have as much right to express their opinion as you have. So you should respect it. Because criticisms are generally negative comments, you need to be sure of what is getting criticized. In most cases, its our ideas or our actions that are criticized. Realizing this only is the first step. Because then you know that you are not being criticized but its the idea or action that is getting criticized. This way you alienate yourself from all negative comments.

I understand that you might be feeling very passionate about your idea. Or you would have taken some action in rightful spirit. But this does not mean when they are criticized you take it to your ego or worse, make a prestige issue.

You should start by calmly explaining your thoughts and reasons. The facts and the circumstances. The logic and the rationale behind it. Most of our actions are function of our knowledge and the circumstance. Under similar conditions, quite probable that others will do the same. So try to get them to empathize with your situation.

Sometimes, we our-self start feeling guilty because its a genuine mistake. Instead of having that add to the negative comments, you can use it to counter it. This technique is also called fogging. So when someone criticizes, you accept the mistake right away and mention that it was due to so and so reasons and perhaps next time you won't repeat your mistake. You can also make others indulgent by asking what they would have done. This shifts the focus from what you did to what they would have done. Thus, fogging creates a maze where the negative comments simply gets lost and never reaches you.

Anticipating criticism also helps. It takes away it surprise value. So, if you are prepared, you are not shocked by it. You have you thoughts and your plan of action already in place.

1 comment:

Jyoti Sharma said...

if handling of criticism is difficult requires some guidelines then handling of praise, i think, requires more guidelines which shud be kept in consideration coz mishandling of praise has more negative repercussion than mishandling of criticisms. what do u say about this?