We’ve all been there, bad day at work tends to get worse when you have unhappy customers and your boss yelling at you doesn’t help the situation.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to take that situation and learn from it and be able to quickly move on?
Here is one strategy with eight quick and easy steps on how to not take criticism personally and what to do if your boss yells at you.
1. Criticism. Think back and recall a time when you were recently being criticized where you reacted badly and you wished that you had responded in a more resourceful manner. Choose a moderate criticism for ease in learning this technique. Rewind the experience to just before it happened.
2. Observer Position. See yourself about to be criticized by that someone and, as soon as that other you recognizes that it’s criticism, watch as that “other you” dissociates. As that “other you” begins to to receive the criticism, you can imagine him stepping out of his body or feeling himself protected by Plexiglas shield around him. It can be helpful to see the critical words being printed out in a cartoon balloon.
3. Movie of Criticism. Watch as that “other you” makes a detailed movie of the meaning of the criticism, so that he can understand what the criticism is about. If that “other you” doesn’t have enough information to make a clear movie, see him asking the critic for more information, until he has a clear understanding of what the critic is saying.
4. Movie of Your Experience. Now that that “other you” has the critic’s view of the situation, what’s he perceived, watch as that “other you” makes a movie of what you remember happening in the same situation, and compares your movie with what the critic saw.
5. Compare Movies. Do the movies of the incident match or mismatch? The might match,match only partially, or completely mismatch. After all, they are different perceptual positions. If they mismatch, watch yourself ask the critic for more information. That “other you” is attempting to understand the criticism.
6. Choose Response. Based on that “other you’s” comparison of the movies, decide on an appropriate response. There are many different possible responses, depending on the circumstances, and the amount of match/mismatch between the two movies. He might say, “I’m sorry,” or, “My intention was to let you know that I was concerned,” or, “From my viewpoint, it looks very different.” Or he might respond, “That’s an interesting view of what happened,” or, “Perhaps I could have done that differently,” or even, “Thank you for expressing your opinion.” Watch as he chooses a response that is appropriate in this situation and lets the other person know that he is thoughtfully receiving their communication. As you see yourself responding to the critic, notice what reaction you get. You can modify what that “other you” says, and how that “other you” says it, until you’re pleased with the results.
7. Future Planning. Next, decide if you want to change your behavior based on the information you’ve just received. If so, see yourself in a similar situation using different behaviors in the future. This process is a way of programming yourself so that you’ll have these new behaviors automatically available when you next experience that type of situation.
8. Repeat Practice. To make your responses even more automatic, individually review two or three different future situations in which you’re likely to be criticized, and where you will want to be able to use this new way of responding. Repeat steps 1-6 of this exercise with each of these so that the sequences become even more automatic.