Organizations in the current era are becoming a robotic venture for several individuals. The essence of providing constructive feedback or maintaining radical honesty is a long-gone task. As an exception, one of the core values of HashedIn is “radical honesty”. Several individuals linger on with the dilemma, is radical honesty all about sharing honest feedback and refraining ourselves from telling white lies? Well, the answer is, definitely not, it is also about accepting the direct, honest feedback and criticism gracefully. Wonders can happen if we follow “radical honesty” because it is directly related to your performance, in turn, the organizational performance. If radical honesty is not followed at the workplace, there is no constructive room for healthy feedback which can result in a false sense that everything is fine, and no improvement is needed.
Before deep-diving into it, just recollect how many times have you felt bad when someone gave negative feedback to you? If your answer is “not even once” then you have an open mindset to accept criticism graciously. But the majority of people fall under the other category because for some reason we don’t like hearing someone judging us negatively about our competency or worth. Our natural defensive mechanism gets activated when someone tries to break personal security and speak very lightly about the hard work that we have put in to build and develop something all these while. Ideally, we feel bad about it and tend to give a repulsive answer which occurs naturally. But is it right to do that? Or is there a good way to deal with it?
Since a while, I have set a reminder to read this quote every day which has helped me to control my emotional outburst/ emotional reaction at the workplace, which you can try too – “ When you react, you let others control you but when you respond, you are in control”. The key point to note here is that you don’t need to react to everything and take it to heart and feel bad about it, especially at the workplace. I know, you might feel that it is difficult to put into practice, and looks good only in the books. But think it over, with little patience and continuous practice this can be achieved.
Here are a few tricks by which you can get away and get something good from criticisms:
- Avoid the “biggest mistake” i.e taking criticism personally. Remember, every human is bound to make mistakes. Even the person who criticized you for sure would have committed mistakes and learnt lessons from them!
- Do not get defensive and get into an argument. Listen and thank the concerned individual for sharing the criticism. You don’t need to immediately give a repulsive reaction. Take time to think and ask clarifying questions and understand how you can improve or if it is just a misconception, then clarify it in a polite way.
- Respect and learn from each of the critics. Always think that the intention is right and there is scope to learn. The moment you start thinking about how the person is or was the intention right or it had a bad intention, you will lose it. Be open to take criticism and learn from them. Try not to give a chance for the person to come up with similar feedback.
By now, you must be thinking, are all criticisms good and how to deal with negative intentions, personal attacks, unfair, and unpleasant. In all these cases, talk to the person openly when things are calm. Say thank you, for sharing the feedback but it was unpleasant or could have been shared in a better way. Talk to the person directly rather than bad-mouthing about it.
Handling criticism at work might never be enjoyable. However, it is possible to learn to make the best out of it. Listen carefully and develop a plan for improvement based on what you hear. If you can be mindful and follow these tips, you may find the path to grow and succeed in your career.