When we receive bad news, sometimes we act based on emotion rather than logic and rationale.
Many times when we receive criticism, bad news or disappointing information, we tend to see it in only two ways - badly or very badly and our first natural response to receiving criticism can be defensive. However, how you perceive these setbacks, and how you react is what’s important.
Even when you're dealing with unjustified criticism or complaints, you still need to respond appropriately. Be calm and acknowledge that there may be some truth in the criticism. Whether we like it or not, it's possible that the other person can see something about us or our operation that really does need adjustment.
Imagine your impact on the person offering the criticism if you respond in a well thought out manner. Imagine how impressed the person will be with you and the reaction you will get from them with this composed and rational behavior.
Here are five tips for handling stress and conflict with more resilience.
- Write down your thoughts that you hold that make you feel pressured or tense in certain situations and cause you to respond inappropriately.
- Take steps to prepare your reaction and how you are going to cope with the bad news. For example, if you anticipate a bad review, talk with a trusted colleague or mentor and go through “worst case scenarios.” Then, talk through possible things that you can do if these scenarios do in fact get played out so you can prevent the situation from becoming a crisis.
- Increase awareness. Recognize your typical emotional reactions. Pay attention to how you are feeling during the next confrontation or stressful situation. Focus on your body language as well—are you guarded and defensive by folding your arms? Are you clinching your fists?
- If you are becoming too emotional, then remove yourself from the situation as quickly and gracefully as possible and put the issue aside for a short while. Come back to the issue or situation after you have given some time to lower your emotional temperature.
- Use self-talk. If you feel yourself getting angry, then talk yourself down - “I’m getting angry and it’s coming across quite clearly; I don’t need to take this so personally, he is only trying to help; or I'm OK, I may have made a mistake, but learning from this error will increase my professionalism."
- Use statements such as “Maybe I should have…” or “You could be right about…”
- Avoid maximizing the negative and minimizing the positive. Give yourself some credit. Force yourself to list three things that were right or good.
- Don’t see the feedback as all good or all bad. Instead of everything being bad, ask yourself what percentage do you think went well?
- Don’t blow things out of proportion. Ask yourself for more rational or logical outcomes. For example, instead of thinking that this review meant that you would eventually be fired, consider the possibility that the feedback is meant for you to gain more experience.
- Avoid overgeneralizing. Sometimes we make a sweeping conclusion that goes way beyond the information presented. Ask yourself what evidence or facts you have to make the negative conclusion you came to. Inquire if people who had similar situations draw on similar conclusions.
- LISTEN: Listen, don't argue. There will be time later to evaluate, to consider and to make a decision, but none of that will be possible unless we first listen and absorb what the person is saying. Avoid interrupting and refrain from criticizing their criticisms. Instead ask open-ended questions to try and understand the issues more fully.
- BE APPRECIATIVE: Thank the person giving you the criticism and bringing the information or issue to your attention, but not in a sarcastic manner! Thank them for sharing their observations, perceptions and information.
- RESTATE: After you thank them you must make sure you accurately understand their message. To do that, you paraphrase. For example, "Let's see if I understand…”
- TAKE ACTION: Ask how you may improve or what you can do to make the situation better.
Give your employees feedback on important skills like resilience - and the resources they need to improve.
The ThinkWise 360˚ Survey gives your employees a clear picture of their strengths and opportunities for improvement and links them directly to learning resources like the tips in this post. Your employees will be more engaged in their own development and you'll create an alignment between the organizational strategy and vision and your people.
Click the button below to download a 360˚ Survey sample report to see how easy behavioral skill development can be.
Make sure you look at the 5/5 Focus section - where we provide links to 10 Quick Tips learning resouces.
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