Listen, Learn, and Love - 3 Keys to Harmony

Dr. Joan's Advice

Date: 05/28/2013

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Constructive Criticism Is Your Ally

Dear Crushed by Criticism:

So your boss called you in for an unscheduled evaluation and you felt panic ripple through your heart. Let me assure you, instant reviews happen all the time. Why? Because any grumble raised by anyone must be addressed and a record kept of how the complaint was handled as a matter of protection.

Who are supervisors and managers protecting? Well, they’re protecting themselves, or course, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But first and foremost, they are looking out for company well-being, aiming to improve quality of service, upgrade production output, increase revenues, and/or improve company morale, to say nothing of a whole host of other business parameters possibly affected by whatever caused them to conduct an unscheduled evaluation with an employee.

But they are protecting the employee as well, by explaining the complaint and helping the employee to make an adjustment, as needed.

That being said, I want to address your specific case, but I will change your circumstances to protect your anonymity. Your boss revealed that a customer complained about your use of casual language during a sales call. I will assume that casual language does not include obscene verbiage, swearing, or any type of offensive references because that type of communication would be a sure way to lose the sale. The term casual language could mean, for example, that you substituted “yeah” or “uh-huh” for “yes” or said “nope” instead of “no.”

My advice to you, dear friend, is to rethink your reaction to the surprise evaluation. Instead of feeling crushed, take the suggestions from your boss as constructive criticism. Surely you would want to know that your word usage offended your client. Now that you realize how your words sounded, you can tweak your language style. Ask someone to remind you each time you say “yeah” or “nope.” Then simply correct yourself. Practice, practice, practice. When calling on your next client, you will have increased confidence and you will make the sale.

The next time you have an opportunity to speak to your boss, please thank him/her for telling you the truth.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Put constructive criticism to work for your own good.

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