Super Habit #32: Accepting Constructive Criticism Gracefully

Sometimes we think we know too much. Then someone who knows more than us comes along and gives us some constructive criticism. Often, our first response is to be defensive. It’s the human condition. Our pride often gets in the way. That’s why Super Habit #32 is so important.

Something that many successful people are good at is listening. This includes listening to constructive criticism. In order to really understand this concept, we need to break the listening process down to its stages.

The Five Stages of Listening

  1. Receiving: This is the intentional act of hearing the message. Many of us fail at this point in regard to constructive criticism. We automatically tune out because we don’t want to face the idea that we might need to improve at something. But improvement leads to success.
  2. Understanding: In this stage, we attempt to learn the meaning of the message. If we’re not truly focusing on the speaker’s words, we won’t get far here. We have to let go of our own pride and be willing to really focus on the criticism.
  3. Remembering: Have you ever taken some advice only to forget about it later? That’s not uncommon. Often, we think we’ve listened, when in fact we’ve shirked off the advice. So later, we have a selective memory and neglect to recall the constructive criticism that was given.
  4. Evaluating: If you make it this far in the listening process, you’re doing well. Many people do not reach this point. This is where you might make a decision as to the quality and validity of the message. If you have truly listened to the critic, and they have made some good points, you’ll likely make a change for the better, based on their advice.
  5. Feedback: This is an essential part of the listening process. When we let the other know that we have heard what they are saying, we can respond by letting them know that. We can also ask clarifying questions.

The Power of Constructive Criticism

Nobody wants to hear that they’re doing something incorrect. But if we truly listen to those around us, especially those who might have more experience than us, we can learn, improve, and succeed.

Make a point to accept constructive criticism. In fact, you should go one step further, Not only should we accept constructive feedback, but we should be thankful. I always make a point to send a quick thank-you note or email to those who have helped me to understand where my own work could use improvement.

Think about it, if you respond negatively to constructive criticism, why would that person want to help you again? But if you accept the criticism with grace, you’ll likely get more help when you need it. And that my friends, will lead you to being the success you want to become.