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    How Women Business Leaders Can Handle Criticism Gracefully

    I know criticism is tough to take but I try to welcome the comments as learning opportunities. It’s also important to evaluate each comment to determine if it presents a learning opportunity or if it is merely a stab at your confidence. For women business leaders and entrepreneurs, taking time to stop and evaluate a scathing comment can help to dilute the sting. But I think we could all use a little advice in dealing with criticism gracefully.

    I like the blog on Zen Habits written by Leo Babauta, and I enjoy his point of view. His recent post on “The Art of Handling Criticism Gracefully” was very well written, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you:

    How not to handle criticism
    Leo makes a good point when he comments, “Often people will respond to criticism with anger. They’ll lash out, attack, become defensive and aggressive.” It’s only natural to feel a bit on the defensive, but I think we can all take a bit of advice from Leo and remember that nothing constructive comes from anger. So rather than react, take a moment to reflect on the comments, but don’t dwell on it.

    Do amazing things
    Many people have gone on to do amazing things, even when they were roundly criticized. Leo suggests that while criticism can be constructive, it can also lead to feelings of low self-esteem and rejection. His advice? Don’t let criticism stop you from doing something amazing. Take it at face value, don’t read into it, change the way your are doing something if there is a valid point, and then move on.

    How to handle it gracefully
    The most important thing you can do when presented with criticism, says Leo, is to calm down. It’s something that’s easier said than done, but I think we can all say we’ve been there. So, rather than let the momentary sting affect your entire outlook, think about where the criticism is coming from, why it was offered, and if there may be a valid reason for it. Regardless of the motivation, determine calmly if you might learn something from it. Maybe the critic has a point! Use it as an opportunity to grow and improve, says Leo, and remember – no one is perfect.

    One final point Leo makes is one that I think bears repeating: thank the person for offering the criticism. Many times people don’t mean to be critical, and are really just trying to offer suggestions. Thanking the critic diffuses the situation and helps to keep everyone calm. And if you can’t do that, says Leo, don’t say anything! See my blog on offering productive feedback for more helpful tips.



    2 Responses to “How Women Business Leaders Can Handle Criticism Gracefully”

    1. Grace (no pun intended) says:

      Just what I needed to see/read at the exact moment I needed it most! Thank you. I am preparing for a tough meeting with a new medical group client. I am going to hear a combination of criticism – constructive as well as some that is meant to be destructive. I will try to take the lessons learned from this story into my meeting next week. Wish me luck!

    2. eating for health…

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