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Do you know how to handle criticism?

Posted Apr 21st, 2016 in General

Do you know how to handle criticism?

Good Morning!

It's been awhile since I've shared a message from George Angus and I felt it was time plus this one was a really good one! 

Here's his article:

Handling Criticism

No one likes to be criticized. But it happens.

Recently, as happens occasionally in our business, a very solid and experienced F&I performer left a dealership over what they felt was undeserved criticism from a new General Manager. This resulted in the F&I manager looking for a position somewhere else and the dealership losing a valuable asset they will have difficulty in replacing.

And sadly, that situation probably could have been resolved. But neither party ever confronted the situation or attempted to solve it. So everybody loses.

Handling criticism in a positive and healthy way is an essential skill we have to develop to maintain our sanity and well-being. But identifying the source of the criticism is a big part of dealing with it. There are different kinds of criticism we can encounter.

Criticism from upper management.

First, when you are criticized by a superior, stop and think.

Don’t take it personally. Of course, that’s easy to say. In many ways, a dealership is like a family and criticism from your boss can hit some sensitive emotional nerves. But try not to react immediately.

Decide if the criticism is valid. If you truly believe it isn’t, then ask for clarification of what the boss means. Listen to the points being made. It may be that you are being criticized for something out of your control.

But if the criticism is valid, listen carefully and ask for time to come up with a plan to resolve the problem. Many times the boss feels like a problem will not get solved. Be part of the solution.

Criticism from coworkers.

When you get criticism from a coworker, ask for clarification. For example, you might say, “Let me see if I understand, you’re saying…” By clarifying what the coworker is really saying you might be able to diffuse the situation.

But if the situation stays confrontational or abusive, refrain from any further discussion and walk away. And if they are acting in an unprofessional manner or make harsh non-work-related criticisms, go over their head. Do not let it continue.

Advise your supervisor of the situation. If they are acting that way with you, they are probably acting that way with others. And if others have witnessed their behavior, ask them to come with you to support your statements. Explain your past attempts to address the problem and then emphasize that your efforts have failed and your coworker is interrupting your work and lowering morale.

Criticism from customers.

A bad CSI questionnaire or a bad report on the internet can wreck your day. And it’s easy to blow it off when one or two people out of the hundreds we deal with have a complaint.

But we have to be alert. Customer criticism is part of the digital age. If those complaints are ignored, social media is an easy way to malign the dealership.

And you might be surprised at how quickly criticism can be diffused if complaints are acknowledged and respected. If you made a mistake, contact the customer directly and admit it, (With management approval, of course). And try to offer a solution that the customer will accept.

Accept the customer’s criticism as a learning experience. Nobody is perfect. But we can learn much from those difficult situations.

Criticism from competitors.

Take competitor’s criticism as a positive. This, in my experience is a good sign.

In the beginning of my training career, I tried to respond in a positive way to detractors that tried to compete by undermining our program or training. But I found that approach was a waste of time and energy with some people. What I have learned is that if you are so successful, and such a threat, that your competition takes the time and energy to try and tear you down, you are obviously doing something right.

And I am always wary of anyone that tries to sell me something by tearing down their competition. It tells me they are afraid of the inferiority of their own message or product. Criticism from your competition is a complement. And there is no need to respond.

Criticism is a part of life.

The important thing to remember is that criticism in any form has to be handled in a way that doesn’t allow it to affect our career, self-esteem, or peace of mind.

And always remember, the air is a lot sweeter on the high ground. Don’t let criticism drag you down. Accept it, analyze it, and turn it to your advantage.

Thanks George for another amazing article!

Have any questions? Feel free to ask me. 

Have a great week!