We’ve all been there before. Getting criticized just when you don’t need it, like after that big performance you had in high school, when the conductor comes up and cuts up your entire performance. There’s a time and place for criticism. There’s a way to give it and there’s a way to take it gracefully. Let’s unpack these emotional tools that we can use each and every day.
We get it. Life is complicated and especially these days, we’re all wearing many hats and spinning many plates. There’s barely enough time to get everything done, nevermind getting it done the right way. If someone’s not telling you to do a better job at playing your instrument, they could be telling you to park better, eat better, fold the laundry better - it never ends.
In order to take criticism gracefully, you must understand where it’s coming from. If someone is genuinely trying to make you a better version of yourself, then it would be wise to listen closely to what they are saying and consider the adjustments. On the flipside, it’s sometimes important to have boundaries and take some criticism with a grain of salt. One of our very favorite isms is the fact that you shouldn’t take advice from somebody you wouldn’t trade places with. If that isn’t the truth!
We love 6Q’s take on it with “Constructive feedback is a healthy blend of praise for achievement and suggestions for improvement. In order to give constructive feedback managers have to master the art of having difficult conversations with their employees and offering them meaningful praise in the right measure.”
When giving feedback, there are a few tools you can use to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. It’s advisable to speak face to face, to lessen the probability of misunderstandings. It’s also important to plan ahead of time what you’re trying to say. The clearer and more concise that you are, the better. This will allow for you to get your point across and will also benefit the person you’re making suggestions too. It’s important to remember that sometimes people don’t even know what they’re doing wrong, this could be as simple as holding a drumstick incorrectly.
If you just say things like “try harder, do better, stop acting like that” without providing any positive reinforcement, then you’ll just be creating a harsh environment where people feel misunderstood and underappreciated. If you remind them of all their great qualities, with a little nudge regarding what they could sharpen up with - that’ll be your ticket to success.
These are crucial communication skills that will benefit you throughout your entire life, be it in a relationship, with a band member, or even the cashier that you’re passing by at 7/11. If we speak with intention, attempting to make life smoother for all, we’ll all be a lot happier.