Most of us are afraid of criticism. People see it as a distraction. People are afraid of being told what to do right and whatnot. Afraid of being corrected. Afraid of being reviewed. Afraid of being rejected because of flaws. Most of us see critiques as faultfinders who often find fault on us, harshly and willfully.
I get it. There are folks out there that want to see you unhappy, and even if you are doing your best, they still have the guts to see faults. But on the brighter side, I will tell you that there is a necessity for criticism.
Let’s Find Out: The Necessity of Criticism
What is Criticism?
As per Merriam-Webster, criticism is an act of expressing disapproval and noting the problems or faults of a person or thing. At the same time, Wikipedia tells us that it is the practice of judging something’s merits and faults. There are many types of Criticism, but for this content, I will break them down into simpler classes – (1) Positive and (2) Negative Criticism.
- Positive / Constructive Criticisms are well-meant and well-intentioned feedback.
- Negative / Destructive Criticisms are emphasizing strong disapproval and are often taken as an attack against a person.
Believe it or not, both are equally fine and important.
Why there is a need of Criticism regardless of a type?
It’s tough, and it takes courage to receive criticism, especially from authoritative, arrogant, and callous. A critique can be a member of your family, relatives, friends, boss, or an auditor from your workplace. It can also be your enemy or competitor. It’s hard to take feedback, especially if we know that the feedback will break our morale. But let me tell you that criticism is significantly crucial to your success.
A Short Story…
During my time in the business outsourcing industry (commonly known as a call center), we were advised by the management that our client gave us an ultimatum. We basically have a month to improve our KPIs, particularly our customer service rating. We badly need to pass it, or else they will cancel their contract with us. Our management took a drastic measure by pulling out all consultants who aren’t performing well, leaving well-performing consultants on the production floor to cater to customers’ calls. You can only imagine the tension, the pressure, and anxiety of this situation gave us in our business in general. Proudly to say, I’m one of the well-performing consultants who were picked to save our contract – our business.
Meanwhile, the training team had an activity that will help the bottom consultants improve their customer service skills. They let them listen from live transactions being done by the top consultants.
I didn’t know that one consultant was assigned to me and listened while I’m on a live business with a customer. Suddenly to my surprise, she started chatting with me through our company’s internal messaging platform. She was telling me what to do and what not to do. I ignored her messages and continued with my work, assisting my customer over the phone. At the end of my call with the customer, she continued messaging me and criticizing me on how I handled the transaction, saying I did not follow our procedure, and so on.
What I felt?
I was shocked, annoyed and start questioning myself. Didn’t I? Did I? The anxiety suddenly knocks on my doorstep, and I felt uncomfortable. I was so upset and went straight to my supervisor telling her the incident. I’m convinced that this is an attack on me. Who is she to criticize me when I have a better statistic than her? If she is better than me and my customer care techniques, I guess she should have better KPIs than me. These were just a few phrases I said to my supervisor. My supervisor told me then, “Just relax, don’t get affected. If you are confident that you are doing the right processes, then there’s nothing to worry. I will take care of this, get your self a break and walk it off.” …which I did.
While I’m on break reflecting about the incident – my supervisor is right! It was a destructive criticism from a colleague who is apparently not doing good at that time. But why can’t I relax? I thought she doesn’t have the right to correct me because she doesn’t even know how to pass her own KPIs. I thought that I have the most right to criticize her because I have better scores than her. But I realized that she had taught me several things upon criticizing me. She taught me;
- How to control my nerves during my live transaction with the customer.
- How to withdraw from distractions while on duty.
- How to handle our situation in a civilized manner.
- How to think positively despite a non-pleasing situation between us.
- To be confident and stop doubting but start believing myself.
- How to be calm.
- How to deal with differences at work to keep a friendly atmosphere.
It’s a WOW!
This is basically the reason why criticism is significantly crucial to your success! It is an underestimated yet powerful tool to improve your personality, skills, aptitude, ability, character, and whole you! It will give you the leverage to know and understand your flaws and improve them as your strengths.
We will receive different kinds of criticisms now and then. These can be well-meant or an attack. But don’t be discouraged. The critique may have a huge difference from you but funneling the goodness out from the badness is a great way to deal. Finally, as Tena Desae said, “Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.” Winston Churchill also said that, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
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