Accepting Criticism in Business
A few years ago I started a new hobby, I started to learn a new language. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but what surprised me was how hard it was to take criticism.
Let me explain. I started learning a new language from scratch at the age of 40. As it was many years since I had been in education I knew I was going to struggle to get back in the education frame of mind. To my surprise, the hardest thing to handle was criticism. Maybe I would be learning to conjugate a new verb and at the end of the lesson the teacher would test me on this. Naturally, each mistake I made would be corrected by the techer and to begin with, I found this very hard to handle.
I was annoyed I was being corrected. I know this is an unreasonable reaction. I can't expect to learn a new language overnight but it was a instinctive reaction. When we leave the education system and slowly start to become adults, we naturally gain more respect in our lives and people around us become less likely to correct anything we say or do. So when this "criticism" starts again, we have a tendency to fight against it as it somehow feels like a lack of respect.
However, I was able to overcome this feeling and that was the start of the acceleration of my learning process. I began to welcome the corrections to my mistakes as it was helping me learn and I think this is one of the reasons that I eventually became fluent in my chosen language.
It's not criticism, it's an opportunity to improve the business
So I started to think that this learning tool could be applied to other parts of my life, specifically my business life. I was with a friend recently who had kindly consented to creating a website with AB Publish with a view to giving me feedback on how it looks and works. She found quite a number of areas that could do with improving but after telling me a few of those she paused and asked if it was OK to continue as she felt all she was doing was criticising a website it took me many months to create.
I was pleased that it hadn't bothered me at all. I could see the positive side and now had a list of improvements that I knew would make my business more successful.
They say people who move from employment to self-employment become unemployable quite quickly. I think part of this has to do with pride in creating something of your own but when it is criticised, we tend to get angry and wish to ignore this advice. However, we do this at our peril.
So the next time someone criticises your business, have a think about that criticism and think of it as an opportunity to improve your business. If you reject advice from a colleague or customer then do it for a rational and calculated reason, not because you are annoyed.
I promise that we at AB Publish welcome feedback from you all. Do not hold back in letting us know what you think. Our goal is to continually improve the service we offer and if something is lacking, the only way we will find this out is if you let us know.
You never know, one day you may spot something new in our Website Creation service and remember that it was something you suggested recently!
Thu 3 March 2011 09:52:17