Don’t Take It Personally

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In a recent team development meeting I was facilitating, one of the staff members told me that he was expecting some negative comments from his boss that he did not feel he deserved. He asked me how I thought he should handle it? I asked him what he liked about his boss and he told me that good or bad, his boss always spoke in a respectful manner and what he said was usually fair and often right. I asked him to keep his mouth shut for now and just focus on the manner and content in what his boss was saying without judging it.

He was surprised that I wanted him to focus on his boss’s best quality but that is a great way to separate the person from the issue. I told him that by using this approach, he’ll have time to consider the comments and can more appropriately respond to his boss after he’s had some time to consider the information. Turns out that his boss had a different and legitimate perspective on his performance and even acknowledged that some of the failure was related to some miscommunication on the boss’s part.

Taking negative feedback is tough whether its at work, with our family, or with friends. Sometimes these comments, which are usually not intended to be hurtful hits us right in the guts. If instead of taking a direct hit you can make it more of a glancing blow it becomes less personal and you control how that stress affects you. Get out of the way of the direct hit by focusing on the good.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2015

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