By Justin Barison for Inc….
How do you respond to criticism?
If you’re in a position where you have to lead others, you’re going to get criticized. Sometimes, that criticism will be valid. Other times, it will be unjustified. But in either case, the criticism is valuable–because it gives you a window into how others see you and your leadership style.
The problem is, typically when we receive criticism, we process this as an attack–leading to a fight, flight, or freeze response. Additionally, with the pressure to move at speed in today’s business world, it’s difficult to slow down and process any critical feedback we receive.
So, how can you gain control of your emotions and transform criticism into a positive?
Don’t feel attacked.
Let’s break down why these three words are so valuable, and how it can improve your emotional intelligence, your ability to understand and manage emotional behavior.
The main reason this phrase is so useful has much to do with the way our brains process negative feedback.
When someone criticizes you, your work, or your leadership style, your first reaction is an emotional one. Scientists say much of this reaction is controlled by the amygdala, the little almond-shaped part of your brain that jumps into action when you feel attacked.
This “amygdala hijack” isn’t always harmful, but under the wrong circumstances, it can cause us to say and do things we later regret–and to handle situations poorly.
Of course, this doesn’t come easy. But with effort, you can train yourself.
For example, after you tell yourself to not feel attacked, you can then tell your conversation partner something like this:
“Ok, thank you for sharing this for me. This isn’t easy for me to hear, so please give me a day to process it and I’ll come back to you.”
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