When a person gives us criticism, he usually wants to show us that we could have done or said things in a better way. Because of our pride, criticism is not easy for us to receive. There have been times in my life when I have been criticized, and…as hard as it was for me to take… I had to agree with my critic. I could have done things better, or I could have said something in a better way. There are times in all of our lives when we must give or receive criticism.
Here are a few guidelines to help you if you find yourself in one of those situations.
Guidelines for Giving Criticism
• Wait for your feelings and thoughts to be calm before speaking.
• Know your intent. Are you giving criticism because of your pride.
• Know your desired outcome.
• Don’t criticize the person, criticize his behavior. Behavior is something a person can change.
• Avoid sarcasm, and the words like “always”, “never” or “should.”
• Be prepared for a variety of responses.
• Remain open and flexible.
• Don’t apologize for confronting the person.
• Don’t forget to compliment the person that you are criticizing.
It is important for us to plan ways to receive criticism. If we do not prepare ourselves to receive criticism, we might allow our feelings to get out of control, distort our thinking, and say things we could regret.
Guidelines for Receiving Criticism
• Say, “I would like to think about this and discuss it with you later.” This will give you time to reorganize your thoughts and develop a godly response.
• Request more information by asking questions about the behavior you are being criticized.
• Agree with part or some of your critic. Just maybe… your critic could be right.
• Recognize that your critic has an opinion. Not everyone sees things the way you see them.
• Use a little humor.
• Take time to really listen and plan your responses before you speak..
• Establish and maintain eye contact.
• Encourage your critic to tell you exactly what they expect from you.