Working with Criticisms – Yours and Others

Worried young man being accused“We seldom accept negative comments from others, however, we so often accept our own inner negative critic.”*

Isn’t that the truth. Especially in the world of IT.

IT professionals are notorious perfectionists. You know what I mean. You are very open to your own inner critic telling you to spend a little more time polishing the UI, or improving the code, but are you as gracious and considerate when one of your colleagues comes knocking, upset the Expense Management System upgrade is six months overdue? (Especially when you know the delay is largely due to your own perfectionism.) Probably not. If you’re like most of us, you respond with some defensiveness when facing external criticism.

It’s a natural reaction. You know the system is late and you know why — it is late because it isn’t yet perfect. But perhaps your colleagues, the people you are building this system for in the first place, are less concerned with receiving a perfect system and more concerned with receiving a working system on the date it is due. Perhaps this scenario would play out differently if you focused your perfectionism on quieting these external concerns (releasing on time) instead of quieting your own voice (releasing perfectly).

In the business world this seems a more effective way to balance internal and external criticism. Not by ignoring external criticism entirely and focusing solely on internal criticism. But by using external criticism to identify the important goal, and then letting your internal critic help you deliver on that goal beyond your colleagues’ wildest dreams.

*(Quote courtesy of The Daily Om – by Madisyn Taylor)


You always listen to your own inner critic—but are you as receptive to the criticisms of others?

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