Monday, September 20, 2010

How to Handle Surprise Criticism

As every in-house counsel has at least one boss and some clients, this blog post is for you.  Peter Bergman writes:  "Any criticism can be hard to accept. But surprise feedback — criticism that seems to come from nowhere, about an issue we haven't perceived ourselves — is the hardest."

Peter makes a number of summary recommendations on how to handle surprise critisim, including:

"To take in surprise criticism more productively, we need a game plan. As you listen to the criticism and your adrenaline starts to flow, pause, take a deep breath, and:

"Look beyond your feelings. We call it constructive criticism and it usually is. But it can also feel painful, destabilizing, and personal. Notice, and acknowledge — to yourself — your feelings of hurt, anger, embarrassment, insufficiency, and anything else that arises. . . .

"Look beyond their delivery. . . . Even if the feedback is delivered poorly, it doesn't mean it's not valuable and insightful. . . .

"Don't agree or disagree. Just collect the data. If you let go of the need to respond, you'll reduce your defensiveness and give yourself space to really listen. . . .

For Peter Bergman's full post, go to: How to Handle Surprise Criticism

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at
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