Dealing with Criticism

Dealing with Criticism


Criticism – Fair or Unfair

Managers, and leaders, need to be able to deal with criticism and respond with dignity and respect. I recently received criticism of my job as a manager from an employee who was leaving my company. At first it made me angry. I felt the employee was being ridiculous. The comments made weren’t fair.

As I thought about it I realized that they were right. Their main criticism was that I had lost touch and was not being responsive to needs and concerns. It was true I have let myself get distracted by problems and issue and have not been giving my full attention to my employees needs, ideas, and suggestions.

I could have just stayed angry and written off the criticism, but then where would be the growth in that. By not being open to the criticism, and being open to the possibility of learning, I can’t change perceived problems.

Perceived Problems are Still Problems

That is the key – perceived problems. Even if I don’t agree with the criticism it doesn’t matter. What matters is what the employee perceives. If the employee perceives me as a manager being aloof and uncaring then I need to find out why that is and change what I am doing.

Taking criticism is very difficult for me. I feel I do my job well, I care about people, and I try to do the right thing. And all that may be true, but my belief in how I am doing and other people’s perceptions can, and often are different.

In order to grow as a manager, and as a person, I need to be open to seeing things through other people’s eyes. I need to be open to hearing how other people view my work. I need to be open to change.

Practicing gratitude for people’s open and honest appraisals allows me to be open to growth and learning. It allows me to work on those failings I have and become a better manager.

Openness to Growth

Being open-minded doesn’t mean that I need to give every criticism equal attention. Is also doesn’t mean that I need to correct every problem. I need to be open to hearing, considering, and weighing the merits of the criticism with an open mind. If the criticism caries validity then I need to be open to change.

Growth can only come about when we accept those things about ourselves that are in need of improvement. Often times it is difficult to see the error of our own actions. We need the vision of those who stand apart from us to help us see our flaws. And we need to have gratitude toward those who are honest enough to share constructive criticism.

This week I am going to work hard to put my focus back on the needs of my people. To take the time to listen. To let my guard down and not be so defensive. I will make the commitment to work toward improving myself and my management style.



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