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13.10.2020 / Lessons learned

Kill that fucking ego - how to deal with criticism

For days you have been sitting at this work. Your ideas – so ingenious that you have already patted yourself on the back several times. Sure thing. This will be a home run. Day of the presentation: while you wait for your moment, you already think in which direction you will shoot the champagne cork through the room – without taking down half of the decoration on the wall. With full enthusiasm you present your results, in which you put so much heart and soul over the last days. Then the time has come. Your counterpart stands up to give you the accolade for your work.

 

“I imagined it quite differently. I think it…”

 

And then it happens: you spasmodically begin to defend something you have fallen in love with over the past few days. How this ends, knows everyone, who wanted to make clear to his mother at the supermarket checkout why you absolutely deserve this damn children surprise egg and want to have it now.

 

An alternative ending and three points how to get there, we now put on your cash register.

Get rid of your ego

… and let your counterpart finish talking. Instinctively we fall into a defensive attitude, because we understand the criticism of our work as an attack on us. When we directly interrupt the person who gives us feedback, we give the impression that we think we know it all. Of course, it is okay to be believe in your own work. Someone who is passionate about his work always gives more than someone who feels like he’s just producing a bunch of garbage. Still, no one of us is the brightest bulb in the box. And if anyone has objections, we should listen to them and think about it. In most cases these objections are justified. We just don’t want to realize it in the first moment and certainly not admit it.

 

Just try to get more feedback instead of defending yourself. “Hey good point, where else do you see potential for optimization?” A simple sentence that can turn a tense basic mood into a valuable discussion.

Write it down

Okay, this is really next level. Let’s change the point of view for a moment. Imagine you criticize someone’s work and they just pick up a pencil and write it down. How does this feel like? Damn good for sure! Because it gives you the feeling that your opinion is valued. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see that kind of situation very often. But every time we see it, we think, “These are exactly the people we want to work with. They have what it takes!”.

 

When you take notes, you show not only that you can handle criticism, but also that you are already in the process of preparing to solve the problems mentioned. Chapeau!

Work together - not against each other

Those who collect feedback have already created a basis for collaboration. If you do it skilfully now, you can get much more out of a feedback session than you might realize. If you let your counterpart’s ideas flow into your work, your own work becomes a team effort. This probably feels like a bummer for some people right now. Who wants to let others play along when you have the coolest toy excavator on the playground yourself? But the benefits are obvious. If you let others “play along”, they will stand behind your work in a completely different way than before. Not only will they be happy to give you feedback again and again, they will even defend your work in front of others. They have contributed something and now feel as a part of the whole.

 

If you are not willing to let others participate in your work, you shouldn’t be surprised if your excavator lands in the next bush as soon as you turn around.

Happy End

If you have these points in mind for your next presentation (and always have a pencil in your pocket), you are already well prepared for the unexpected. Namely, that someone doesn’t celebrate your work the way you thought they would. But these are exactly the situations that are damn important. They give you the opportunity to see your work through the eyes of someone else. It won’t get you anywhere if your view of things is never contradicted. Critical feedback gives you the opportunity to take your work and yourself to the next level. And if there is one thing we have learned, it is that we have never finished learning!

Curious what was in our children surprise eggs? Then find out on our Instagram account.

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