Most of us dislike receiving criticism.  However, there may be value in criticism that we’re overlooking.

In a post I read by Kevin A. Thompson [www.kevinathompson.com]  he lists the following 5 ways we can receive criticism in a healthy way.  You may wish to consider these five  options as they offer a helpful perspective we don’t always think about.

  1. Listen, knowing you could be wrong: Receiving criticism lets us know the world isn’t always as we see it.  That means we need to remember humility.  You could say it calls attention to our biases and our blind spots.  Once we’re open to the possibility of being wrong, criticism has a whole different feeling to it.
  2. Listen, knowing they could be wrong: Mr. Thompson points out that hearing criticism is very different from heeding criticism.  He states, and rightly so, that the person who is offering criticism, has just as much of a chance of being wrong as being right.  Therefore, this person may not be the authoritative source. Regardless, criticism potentially broadens our perspective and doesn’t have to be right for it to be helpful.
  3. Listen, no matter their expertise: Someone without experience or knowledge can offer essential insight.  Mr. Thompson states that expertise is not a requirement for good advice; I concur.
  4. Listen to their intent not their words: When hearing criticism, Mr. Thompson suggests we embody grace.  It helps to hear a person’s intent before judging what they’ve said. That’s tough for a lot of us, but nonetheless has significant validity.
  5. Listen, learn, but be careful who you follow: Mr. Thompson points out that we should try to learn from everyone but that we strive to be discerning as to those we follow.

Each of the points made in Mr. Thompson’s post has merit on the value of listening.  He offers sound advice, particularly that although receiving criticism is often challenging, change is impossible without it.  In my opinion this is a valuable post by Mr. Thompson and one I thought worthy of sharing.

Speakers often receive criticism and this post points out an upside [in addition to the downside we know so well].  The next time you find yourself on the receiving end of criticism, particularly when you’re a speaker, I suggest you reflect on the five points made by Mr. Kevin A. Thompson.