It hurts to be told when we’ve made a mistake. But the sad truth is that we grow the most when we are willing to accept criticism from people and make changes based on their feedback.
Not All Advice Is Equal
Of course, not everyone’s advice is equally valuable. Some people are just angry and wanting to tear you down. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice. It’s important to protect yourself and yet be ready to allow useful feedback in.
The key is to set your pride aside. Even if someone is saying really painful things to you, know that those things don’t make you a bad person. They are a chance to reflect on what you’re doing and find ways to improve.
Creating an Open Corporate Culture
Leaders who are unable to bear criticism will reach barriers in their abilities that they won’t be able to surpass. They shouldn’t surround themselves with Yes Men, nor should they only associate with negative people. There needs to be a balance between kindness and criticism.
Encourage a culture of openness so your employees feel safe offering feedback. Then you can more effectively weed out weaknesses and replace them with strengths, both in the way you manage and the way your business functions.
Listening to Critics
People who are critical of your business or who say things to try to tear it down could ironically prove to be a boon by helping you notice flaws you otherwise would have missed.
Unhappy customers might be pleased with the majority of what your company offers, but just one or two things led them to have a bad overall experience. By focusing on those few failures you can turn things around, especially if you’re already doing so much right. You can even show those customers that you listened to them and made key changes. That might encourage them to give your company another chance.
We’re all imperfect people. When someone makes a mistake, it’s tempting to jump down their throat about it, but it’s always a better idea to kindly help them fix it and learn from the experience.
I can’t claim to be perfect in this regard. But it’s critical that all of us keep trying to humbly listen and help.