The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! Criticism is Hard to Take: Especially from a boss, acquaintance or a stranger.

April 26th, 2018

What’s hot?

We encourage leaders to seek and give more feedback. And, we recognize it is not always fun to be at the receiving end of criticism.  We also know that you can learn a lot from constructive feedback.  Rachel Fintzy, M.A., LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and counselor in the areas of relationships, emotion regulation, mindfulness and stress management, offers strategies for responding effectively to criticism.

So what?

Constructive criticism is a key component to your development as a leader. You have the power to choose whether the constructive feedback will help you grow or not.  You are in control.  You are the one who can choose to embrace or disregard criticism.







What to do?

Five of Fintzy’s most powerful strategies for responding to criticism follow:

  1. View feedback as gift. Accept the offering and “unwrap” it by asking questions to encourage the other to reveal as much as possible so you can determine if the “gift” fits.  Even if it doesn’t, resist getting defensive. Instead, ask yourself how you can use the gift of information.
  2. Listen to the voices in your head. What are you telling yourself about the person offering the feedback?  Reassure yourself that the other person probably wants your work or your relationship to improve. Even if it appears to you that the other person is blaming or angry try not to take their words personally.  However, still look for a potential grain of truth in what they say.
  3. Listen to the person. Really  Do not try to offer your perspective or make excuses UNTIL you are certain he or she has said everything he/she wanted to.  Then, ask “would you like to hear my perspective/side of the story?”  Fintzy’s advice:  People like to feel heard, and your accusing party is no exception. 
  4. Thank the person for their feedback. It’s not easy to give constructive criticism. There is always the risk that the receiving party will feel hurt, demoralized, or angry. Expressing your appreciation can contribute to a congenial and cooperative relationship and keep the gift of feedback coming.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect. We all make missteps and screw up occasionally.  Stay confident.  Remind yourself that you have many strengths AND have just received feedback that you may be able to use to become even stronger.

 Give your leaders tips like these and so much more by providing them with a subscription to instantaccess where they can find additional resources for strengthening their leadership like these:

  • 4 Reasons Feedback Isn’t Accepted and What To Do About It, an instantaccess instant help sheet
  • 4 Tips For Effective Performance Feedback an instantaccess instant help sheet
  • Get The Feedback You Need To Succeed, an instantaccess micro-lesson
  • Harness Positive Recognition To Rev Up Performance, an instantaccess micro-lesson
  • Reassure, Reinforce, Reward And Reset To Maximize Performance, an instantaccess micro-lesson
  • Seek Bad News to Achieve Peak Performance, an instantaccess micro-lesson

In addition to hundreds of other leadership resources for strengthening future focus, results, teamwork, communication, emotional intelligence, performance, courage and so much more.  Learn more here:

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