Through one simple word and a follow up question, you can transform a critic into a collaborator.
Your response has the direct ability to invite others into your growth and partner in your development instead of viewing critics as negative influences.
Use The Word "Noted" To Recognize A Critique And Accept It
“Noted”, Jon would affirmatively say each time a new suggestion was brought up by our team.
I used to volunteer to play music at a church in Virginia. After each service, our team would huddle and go over suggestions for improving next service.
Everything, from lighting cues to mic placement to jokes in the sermon, was exhaustively covered.
One of the biggest things I admired about our pastor, Jon, was that he always asked for feedback on his message. And anytime someone would give him feedback, he’d graciously reply with “noted, anything else?”.
And that wasn’t a dismissive reply. He conveyed a sense of genuine interest in the suggestions you had and he took them to heart. Actively practicing those improvements in the next service.
Jon adamantly welcomed feedback with the understanding that it would shape who he was and what he did.
His willingness to accept feedback and his class in handling it caused his own growth as well as growth for our team and the community.
The One Word You Need And A Follow-Up Question
When you receive criticism, how quickly does a defense rise in your chest?
We become so attached to our thoughts and actions. We act like our survival depends on how right or well received we are.
But, you shouldn’t view criticism as an attack. Criticism should become a direct view into improvements you can make to become a better person.
Next time you’re faced with criticism, take a slow deep breath if you feel defensive. Then, simply reply with “noted, anything else?”.
If you're not always observing how others can teach you, you'll continually be stuck where you're at.
Your personal growth is parallel to your desire to become a student of everyone and everything.
Don’t React In Defense, You Have Nothing To Prove
I struggle so much with feeling like I have to defend myself when someone offers a suggestion. Even if it’s thoughtful and well-placed, I usually mount an argument and begin defending my case.
You will never grow if you constantly barrage critiques with defenses that protect your ego.
First, recognize that critiques are just negative feedback. They’re just words. They have no power on their own.
The power from criticism should come from your ability to transform negative feedback into positive growth and development.
Second, understand that you have nothing to prove. If someone offers suggestions for improvement, just accept it. A healthy ego does not have to have a defense for every single attack against it.
You don’t have to prove to anyone why you did something. Handle the feedback with grace.
Discern if the feedback is quality or not. If it’s quality, great. Run with it and become better.
If it’s not quality, drop it and forget about it. But don’t try to prove to someone that their feedback isn’t quality. It’s not worth your time and energy.
The only instance where you may want to speak against feedback is poor quality feedback that gets the facts entirely wrong.
Maybe the critic misheard some facts about a situation. In that case, respond gently with a polite correction and then move on. *Note: you’re only gently correcting facts, you’re not proving why you think someone’s opinion is incorrect.
No Matter The Quality, Feedback Is An Asset To You
No matter the validity of the critique, another person’s perspective is invaluable.
Another person chiming in their thoughts on something is valuable because it’s an additional mind processing information with you:
It’s an additional perspective that sees differently than you.
This is the exact principle behind Napoleon Hill’s creation of masterminds. Masterminds are groups of people gathered around a common goal. Hill argued that two people collaborating created a “third mind” that had better ideas, vision, and direction than its individual parts.
Feedback is just the same. On our own, we have an incredibly limited perspective. But, with other people offering guidance and feedback, we have direct access to more encompassing thoughts and ideas.
Ultimately, feedback helps shape us into better people doing better things.
Invite A Critic To Become A Collaborator
"Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn't want to trade places." - Darren Hardy
The key to transforming criticism into collaboration is asking questions that invite the critic to join you in the growing process.
Most people get negative feedback, shut the critic down, and then become consumed with negative thoughts and angst that affect the rest of their work.
You can capture the insight and resources that others have when you invite them to help you grow.
Next time someone offers you feedback, begin with “noted, what else?”. That question, “what else?”, provides a blank canvas for someone else to continue to add details that highlight a path for your future direction.
Continue to ask them follow-up questions to understand their intent, perspective, and suggestions for positive growth.
Usually, their first instance of feedback will seem negative, but if you ask your critic how you can improve, or what you could do differently, you’ll likely be greeted by a fresh perspective that can suggest ideas that haven’t even crossed your mind.
How To Create A Welcoming Space That Fosters Feedback
Negative feedback shouldn’t be a random instance in your life. If you want to continue to grow and develop, you’ll need negative feedback as a guiding mechanism for when you get off course.
Negative feedback is a life-long asset that will always help you stay on track if you value it.
Instead of letting negative feedback arise at random, start asking for it from people.
Begin everything you do by asking for specific feedback from people whose opinions you value. Now, you’ll never be caught off guard or offended when someone provides a suggestion.
I have recently started the habited of asking for feedback. I ask for at least 1 thing I’m doing well and 2 things I can improve on.
Strive to create a space where people feel free to add their suggestions for improvement.
Excellent leaders value the opinions of others rather than viewing their own ideas as the only good option.
"When criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention." - Dale Carnegie
Next time you receive negative feedback, try to genuinely say “noted, what else?”.
Practice the habit of humility and becoming a student of everyone.
True growth in only found in your ability to recognize weakness and improve it. If you turn down every suggestion for growth, you’ll continually stay in the same state and mindset.
Allow others to push you. Create a community of trust and vulnerability that challenges each other to grow and progress.