How to respond to criticism


Life ToolsHave you ever received criticism and was not sure about what to do with it? Did you just get upset and shoot back an unpleasant response? This tool will give you an alternative way to respond to criticism which can lead to better relationships and self-improvement.

Episode Outline:

Stage 1: Digest what was said and do some self reflection

  1. Ask yourself what your usual level of appreciation is for the person who gave you negative feedback.
  2. Ask yourself how what was said in some ways matches your appraisal of yourself.
  3. Ask yourself if how this person criticized you at all matches the way you tend to criticize others in general.
  4. If needed, ask a friend for their appraisal of you in regard to the criticism you received.

Stage 2: Prepare a response to the criticism you received

  1. Uncover the underlying, unspoken statement that your counterpart didn’t consciously express.
  2. Regardless of how negative the criticism seems to be, uncover and name the positive intention your counterpart might have had while keeping in mind possible unspoken statements from the previous step.
  3. Restate to yourself the criticism your counterpart gave you in a more positive manner than it was initially made.

Stage 3: Engage in a constructive conversation that addresses the criticism you received

  1. Present your reworded positively oriented statement to your counterpart.
  2. After making this statement give the other person an opportunity to respond, while making sure that they appear to understand what was just said.
  3. At some point in the flow of the conversation, make a statement to your counterpart about your positive intention in regard to them.
  4. Ask your counterpart if they would like to suggest any specifics in regard to how they would like you to act or perform differently in the future.
  5. Make a clear commitment to your counterpart.
  6. Follow-up with your counterpart when and if you find it necessary.


4 thoughts on “How to respond to criticism

  1. Steve Levin

    This is such a great topic. I like this paraphrase form Stephen Levine (no relation):

    The challenge in responding to criticism and blame is
    how to do so without creating more of the same.


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