At the core, most of us like being right. Ok… I LOVE being right! The worst is when I am convinced I am right, only to discover I was wrong. How do you handle criticism? Are you willing to listen? Is there a good way or a bad way to hand out criticism? Let’s take a look at a few ideas that I think will help us with this most dreaded “ism”.
If you are giving criticism
There are two kinds of criticism: Constructive and Destructive criticism. Destructive criticism says that you were wrong and then belittles you for it. Or the person offering the criticism tells you that you messed up with an insensitive tone makes sure you know you were wrong then walks away.
Constructive criticism explain where the fault was in what you did or said then offers advice on how to correct the error. The person offering the criticism is looking to help rather than just state the facts that you were wrong. We need constructive criticism. Destructive criticism, like the name implies, can be quite wounding. Consider what scripture says in this area: “The wounds of a friend are like faithful kisses” (Proverbs 27:6), and “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Provers 11:4)
Consider the following thoughts regarding criticism:
- We all need someone to speak into our life that we will listen to in order to grow.
- Even constructive criticism should be done in the proper format. Don’t do it in front of a bunch of people. Don’t do it across the internet. Do NOT send a text! Don’t even send an email. Talk to the person, if possible, face to face.
- Make sure you have the ability to speak into the person’s life before you offer up your words.
- When someone offers you criticism, just listen. You do not have to respond. Let it filter. Think it through. Consider is what they are saying possible. Where you misunderstood? Do you say the wrong thing? Just think it through.
- Make sure your tone is right. I believe this is very important. People want to know that you care, not just out looking to call them on things you think are wrong. Sit down, give them your full attention. Make the matter be just between you and them.
- Take the criticism hear the words that are constructive and actually put them to use. Don’t just ignore them. It is easy at this point to allow pride to have such a foothold that we insist we are going to dig in and do it just because we want to be right.