Heeding Constructive Criticism Can Lead to Change for the Better

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 10, 1999 | Go to article overview

Heeding Constructive Criticism Can Lead to Change for the Better


Byline: Ken Potts

This is the first in a 2-part series

"I don't mean to be critical, but ..."

"I'm only telling you this for your own good ..."

"Look, I hate to bring this up ..."

We all know what comes next. We're about to take it on the chin. Somebody - friend, relative, employer, maybe even a complete stranger - is going to let us know all about some mistake we've made, some fault we have or just something they don't like about us.

They may call it "constructive criticism." It usually seems like we get more "destructed" than "constructive."

There are a number of ways we learn to deal with the criticism that inevitably comes our way. Many of us just try to avoid it. We learn to detect approaching criticism and take evasive action before we get shot down. We find other things we suddenly need to do, or change the subject or just don't hear. Anything to avoid being criticized.

Some of us take another tactic. We nod our head in solemn acceptance of the criticism leveled at us and then proceed to totally ignore it. We figure that if we pretend to take the criticism seriously, things will cool off and then everything can be forgotten.

A third common tactic I call "silent suffering." We passively listen to critical comments, and probably even apologize for our failings. Deep down inside we're totally crushed. We feel unwanted, unloved and worthless. But we keep it all to ourselves. We smile weakly, hiding our tears.

Of course, a related tactic is "not so silent suffering." We are unable to hide the pain and rejection we feel at being criticized. Dejected, downcast, tearful, we are embraced by our display of emotions.

I think we're up to tactic number five. This one I call the "preemptive first strike." Early on in the conversation, seeing criticism coming, we get in the first blow by unloading a criticism or two of our own.

We may have saved an incident from weeks or months back and now pull it out as ammunition. The idea is to get our potential critic so defensive that he or she never gets a chance to criticize us.

Finally, we have to include the "counter attack" as part of our repertoire of anti-criticism defenses.

We often use this in tandem with one of the other tactics listed above. The idea is to make our critics pay such a price for criticizing us that they soon learn it just isn't worth the price.

We may refuse to speak to them for days, be super critical of their faults and shortcomings or act so miserable they can't stand to be around us.

There is not much chance for anything constructive to come out of defenses like these. And though I don't enjoy criticism any more than the next person, I do think there is a way we can deal with criticism that is more constructive than the ways I've mentioned so far.

First, we need to accept that criticism usually hurts - a little or a lot. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Heeding Constructive Criticism Can Lead to Change for the Better
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.