I used to work at a large mortgage company. Their internal system for processing and closing loans stank (in my opinion). I was determined to change the way the system worked. I complained to management every chance I could. I became a [the b-word] about it. I was criticized for not “playing well with others.” I got upset and ranted some more!
Ultimately, they fired me.
Okay, so the experts say that the reason we get defensive when hearing criticism is because we’re tied to our ego; a person is implying that we’re not great at something.
Here are six tips to follow, especially if it’s a real estate agent or client who is dissing you.
- Wait for your gut reaction to pass before doing anything. I should have excused myself, got a cup of coffee and reflected upon what the person just said to me. Yes, it was true, I was not playing well with others.
- Keep your mouth shut. Of course, I went on to defend myself when I should have been listening to what they were saying.
- Ask questions. I should have asked more questions, like “Why do you feel that way?” or “Could you explain exactly what you think I’m doing wrong?”
- Ask for advice. Getting back to the basics, I should have explained my problem and asked the manager what he would have done if he were me!
- Determine if the criticism is warranted. In my case, yes, I was hell on wheels. I accepted that I made people uncomfortable. If it’s true, deal with it and move on. If it’s not, defend yourself and explain why you acted the way you did. It’s easy to tell yourself, “they have it in for me” or “those people are raving lunatics.” It’s hard to put your ego aside and use the criticism in a positive way.
- Last words of advice: Don’t change just because someone says something negative to youor hurts your feelings. If you believe in what you are doing, listen to what they say and muster up your courage to ignore them, because ultimately, you’re the only one you have to answer to in the end!