Receiving criticism is tough. Especially when it is directed at your business as your business is your baby, right?

It is logical, one rather hears positive than negative things about something you put your heart and soul in. But ignoring criticism on your business is the worst thing one can do. Even more so, if the criticism comes from clients.

Some time ago I gave a book titled Hostmanship, The art of making people feel welcome by Jan Gunnarsson to a friend who owns a restaurant. When I was about to wrap the book it opened up to a passage on “The art of handling criticism” and the following sentence caught my eye:

“The art of handling criticism is closely tied to getting to the truth. When someone criticizes you, consider it a gift. You finally get to hear what you’d never been able to ask, and now you have the chance to do something about it.”

Once you see it as such you can genuinely thank people – customers for instance – for the effort they are taking to give you – constructive – feedback.

Unfortunately, not everyone can handle criticism. According to the same book there are 5 ways of dealing with criticism:

  1. Rejection, which means that someone denies what is being said and ignores is.
  2. Defense, which means that criticism is explained away by defending what happened. Saying that it is normal for that to happen and that there is no control over what happens.
  3. Explanation of what happened and why it happened as something that it is completely natural.
  4. Understanding the criticism but not actually doing anything about it.
  5. Change by facing the critic and acknowledge that they are right.

How about you?

So I do you deal with criticism with regard to your business? Do you seek it out? Do you embrace it? Or do think and maybe even state that everyone is wrong and you are right? Please, let me know in the comments.