People make all kinds of statements in the workplace. Most of the time such statements are encouraging, focus on problem solving, help us communicate effectively, etc. However, there are times when people are just downright mean. They can be critical, rude, and insulting. When we are on the receiving end of such “verbal vomiting” here are some key tips to keep in mind:
Watch what you say to yourself – Many years ago, a friend shared the following statement with me. “You never believe what others tell you. You only believe what you tell yourself.” That simple statement created one of the most profound “aha” moments in my life. If a supervisor says, “You obviously have no idea what you’re doing.” What do you say to yourself? Do you say, “I don’t have any idea what I’m doing,” or do you say, “I am competent and qualified for this job.”?
Turn your critic into your coach – This can be super effective when dealing with criticism. Instead of saying to yourself, “I am so going to get this guy!” Say, “I have an opportunity to be better at what I do.” Suppose the criticism is, “You never do anything right.” You can then ask a question like, “Can you provide some specific examples of what I am not doing right?” Treat the conversation like a library. If you discover helpful insights – use them. If not – leave them on the shelf.
Go the extra mile – This is even harder to do, but it can yield highly beneficial feedback while serving to silence your critic. Using the critical statement just made for example, once the critic shares a specific example of something you are not doing right, ask, “Can you think of anything else I need to work on?” All the while, say to yourself, “This information may actually help me improve my job skills.”
In short – what others say to you does make a difference, but what you say to yourself makes ALL the difference!