Acquiring Broad Shoulders to Tough Criticism
Posted on August 25, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
So, you have a great idea and you draft up the best conceptual design you’ve done in years and really believe you’re on the cutting edge of something so unique that you already can hear the thunder of applause from your supervisors and coworkers.
Instead of the great Wow factor you were expecting, your idea was kicked to the curb like an old dish towel. Now you’re devastated and you could be thinking one of the following:
- Dang it. Are these people ignorant or what? Nobody ever likes my ideas. I’m going to quit this job and go where my ideas will be appreciated.
- I put so much thought and research into this idea that I never dreamed it would be so easily rejected. What is it they don’t like, or won’t work? It’s too frustrating to work here!
- Well, I guess it’s back to the drawing board! First, I want to get more input from my critics as to what exactly they didn’t like about my first idea, and how I can improve so that we’re all happy with the results.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who really feel like #1, above, especially if their ideas have been kicked to the curb once too often. It can be very discouraging and frustrating because they think, “Wow. Am I still in the game here or what?”
It takes broad shoulders to take hurtful criticism – no matter how constructive! If you feel you’re on a losing streak and striking out all the time, try to remember your successes from the past, even if some of them go back to high school. Remember how wonderful people thought your work was then? You can still get a bit of an ego boost just remembering past successes in order to help you through this slump.
Next, I think #3 is a good practice to follow because you really should get the input from your critics so you can move forward with an improved idea or design. It’s never really the first design concept chosen anyway. In fact, it’s extremely rare. Be prepared to offer a lot more ideas as well along with the one you feel is the winner.
It’s also hard to take criticism about one’s person or personality. “You’re always so uppity!” Yikes! Who wants to hear that, no matter how uppity one really is? “You talk too loud.” I hear that again, and I’m going to scream. Then you’ll know what loud really is. – Just kidding! – However, instead of getting all “uppity” about this type of criticism, I decided to be very conscientious about my timbre and tone when I’m talking now, and I make it more of a whisper, as though in a library. (Well… I’m trying anyway.) The other day, someone asked me why I was whispering and I told her it was thought by some that I’m too loud. She smiled and said, “Your normal voice is fine with me, so speak up! I can’t hear you!”
Well, you can’t please ’em all. The message I’m trying to send is taking criticism can really be a bitter pill to swallow. Like the title, it takes broad shoulders to take it. It may even take more guts to give it.