Last week I invited a trusted friend to give me some constructive criticism. I asked him to answer this question.
“Can you tell me three things that I do that hold me back?”
He asked me to limit the context so I chose work rather than personal life. Among other things, he criticized me for being too critical. He gave me two examples. One was an example illustrating what I do wrong and the other was how I had done it correctly. He didn’t tell me anything new but somehow reading what he wrote helped me see myself better.
The people close to you know you better than you think. You’ll reach higher if you invite and listen to their feedback.
Here are 10 suggestions for inviting criticism.
- Invite criticism from a trusted friend who knows your personal or professional goals.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself or your friend. Ask one specific question.
What three things do I do that hinder others?
List two of my behaviors that frustrate others?
Tell me three things I do that hold me back?
- Don’t punish their honesty. Thank them.
- Avoid defensiveness. (pay attention to the next one)
- Inviting a friend to criticize you is not the same as being coached so don’t keep bringing it up. That’s awkward.
- Practice their suggestions.
- Don’t ask one of your critics to criticize you. They are too eager!
- I chose to ask for criticism via email because it doesn’t demand an immediate response.
- Be sensitive to your friend. They may not enjoy this exercise.
- It may help to narrow the context to running meetings, communication style, problem solving, etc.
Leaders reach higher when a trusted
friend brings them lower.
What suggestions do you have for inviting criticism? What dangers? Have you had success doing this?