Being in business means that at some point in time you are going to have to deal with some form of criticism, in fact in Australia we call this tall poppy syndrome, the more successful you become the more some people try to bring you down. The right time of criticism can be extremely helpful and help push you to become better than you ever thought you could be. But sometimes the wrong type of criticism can actually pull you down and help make things worse, so it’s important to understand the different types of critics, so that you know who you should listen to and who you should simply ignore.
There are basically three types of critics: friendly, indifferent and hostile, with each of them having their own agenda and all but one has something good to offer. It’s extremely helpful to understand and to be able differentiate between these three types of critics, so that not only can you quickly identify those who you should take notice of and listen to, and also to identify those who you should ignore, but more importantly so that you can learn to provide criticism yourself in a constructive and useful way.
Your friends and supporters will often offer friendly criticism, these people care about you and want you to succeed. They generally try to use criticism to build up the person, not tear them down. You’re much more likely to listen to this type of criticism since it comes from known friends and supporters, but remember to ensure that the advice given is fact based, because some of their ideas might be good and others might not.
People who offer indifferent criticism typically don’t really so much care about hurting your feelings as much as they care about bringing about the truth and facts surrounding an issue. They may be natural objectors who simply like being a sounding board to bring out the different aspects of a situation. They aren’t personal at all; they’re objective. It’s important to listen to this type of criticism and also pay attention as before to the facts of the situation.
In the social media world of today, these types of critics are commonly referred to as trolls. This type of criticism has no objective reason, or supportive reason, instead it is designed to demean, attack, control and undermine and generally to stir things up. You can recognize this type of critic because they are on the attack and trying to tear you down. Oddly, you can still benefit from this type of criticism, especially if you are experienced and know how to handle them but mostly these are the people you should seek to ignore.
To evaluate criticism, consider the following:
How true is it?
List out the facts of the situation so that you can determine what is really true.
How can I change it?
If some good points have been made, can you make a change?
Do I care?
If it’s something from a hostile source, do you really care at all what they think?
How can I make this a positive?
Now, how can you take the facts of the criticism and turn it around into a positive?
In each case you should always listen to the criticism with open eyes and ears without being defensive, each has its good and bad points, and while you can ignore the person giving the hostile advice due to their rudeness, do listen to what they say so that you can determine if there is any level of truth to it. After all, regardless of the reason for the critic to give you advice, as long as there is a small grain of truth, you can profit from it and use that to your future advantage.