How to react to criticism

As you lean-into the challenges and new opportunities that come with them, remember that criticism is a natural process of the leadership journey. Since criticism is never easy to handle, keep the following five tips in mind to ensure you handle it wisely.

  1. Don’t freeze. The disapproval of others may trigger a fight-flight-or-freeze response - feeling attacked, our bodies react automatically. It helps if you prepare responses in advance and give yourself time. Say that you’ll give the criticism your consideration and get back to them later.
  2. Ask around. If it’s the first time you’ve heard the criticism, find out if the view is more widely shared. Is it valid, or the opinion of just one person? Don’t react - reach out to friends.
  3. Apply the criticism to your role, not yourself. We tend to take things personally that are not personal at all.
  4. Connect. When we’re reeling from criticism, we tend to withdraw from others. Reach out instead. Cultivate a group of friends.
  5. Develop a stomach for it. Many strive to be likeable, but it is an illusion to believe that you’ll ever be universally beloved. Realise that then you can face the realities and benefits of diverse opinions and value the parts of yourself disliked by others.

The above leadership tip...
was sent in response to a question from a participant on our 10/10 leadership development and mentoring programme and adapted from How to Take Criticism Well by Sabina Nawaz. Whether you're a first time manager or an experienced leader, straightforward, practical advice on best practice is hard to find. Until now. To find out how you, your team or your organisation can benefit, please join us on our next complimentary webinar or contact us.