“The challenge in responding to criticism and blame…
…is how to do so without creating more of the same.”
What’s your automatic response to being attacked? It’s probably to defend, or to launch a counter-attack. And so begins the struggle to be Right (or at least not to be Wrong.)
Instead, step aside and pursue a more productive path. Put your focus on hearing criticism and blame as something very different — as something revealing about the other person.
When someone criticizes you, some of these conditions likely apply:
a. They have needs that are not met
b. They feel frustrated, powerless, angry
c. They don’t know how to express their needs and feelings in a productive way…so they resort to an attack.
So, when you feel attacked….
1. Pause. Don’t take it personally. It’s just someone in distress who seeks a better future and is lousy at asking for it.
2. Listen for the unmet need. What are they yearning for (that has nothing to do with you)? Assure them that you understand what they desire.
3. Acknowledge their feelings without judgment.
4. Engage them in solving the puzzle of how to create a better path forward.
With a little practice, you can shift from assigning Blame to solving a Puzzle in just a few moments.