I recently had some negative feedback in one of my workshops and the first reaction was of feeling upset, disheartened and actually, pretty miserable. Throughout my life my initial reaction to criticism has often been to ‘catastrophise.’ That word was given to me many years ago by a good friend and professional colleague who is a highly regarded counsellor in mental health services.
So .... having received some negative feedback this meant (in my head) I was less than perfect which is of course unacceptable to me. Trevor has to be perfect all the time – anything less is not good enough. This unrealistic state of mind lasted for a day or two until I spoke to someone about the actual points of criticism. I was able to look rationally at the points raised. Despite the fact my heart was wishing to reject the criticism, my head told me there was in fact some validity in the comments.
I was able to give my responses in a calm, measured well thought through way and this was accepted. After the discussion I felt better and my ego was less bruised. I had learned some stuff for future workshops that will help me.
Learning had taken place!
My main point is that actually, we are not perfect, at least I am not. You may be.
It is really important that we take criticism very seriously – but not too seriously so that we beat ourselves up. We also need to find ways to learn from criticism and perhaps most important; we should never rubbish the data.
In that particular workshop I looked carefully at all the evaluation feedback forms from 12 people. Only one had poor scores or comments. The other 11 evaluation forms were very high scores with favourable comments – some extremely favourable.
One key message from me is to dig deep into your evaluation. Don’t simply believe the headlines. Learn from the 'outlier' comments and scores.
Be happy and content with the great comments. Give serious consideration to the ones that are critical before you dismiss the writer as a bad person who doesn’t know what they are talking about.
I hope this makes sense – criticism is never well received but we can turn it around.
I’d love to hear your experiences and stories on this.