Listening to Your Critics: Is It Ever Worthwhile?
There is a lot to be said for those who stick to their guns in the face of the opinion of others. We tend to think of those sorts of people as thick-skinned, persevering mavericks. We seem to have an instinctive respect for those who risk things against the odds. However, there are times when personal change is necessary; such an attitude can then turn into a liability. Here's three situations when you need to check that you are following the right path, and perhaps start listening to your critics.
When you stop getting good results
Firstly, if you've been persevering and have been getting good results, that's a sign that what you're doing is valuable and worthwhile: even though it goes against what other people are doing. In these circumstances, it's easy to keep going. You feel like you have the wind at your back and you have insight into the real situation.
However, if you stop getting good results, this is a sign that the strategy that you were working on is starting to fail. At those times you have a choice; you can keep going with your original plan, or you can take stock and choose another path that leads to better results.
When the environment has changed
Secondly, some strategies work better than others in different circumstances. If you've managed to find a strategy that works well in the current environment, all well and good. However, if the environment changes significantly, this can be a sign that what you have been doing won't work in the future. If so, you will need to change your strategy as well.
When your close allies start to turn away from you
Thirdly, we can't do it alone. When we have close allies who support us and what we do, it's easier to keep going. However, sometimes those who aren't so close to the situation can see when things aren't working out.
If those who have previously valued your strategy now start to question it, it can be a sign that you need to start questioning too.
When it's about you
There is one other time when you should start listening to your critics; that's when you realise that you can't bear to . If the reason you can't listen to your critics is because of fear, that's a signal to change your approach.
Criticism isn't change
It's important to realise that listening to your critics doesn't mean that you change your strategy or your point of view. However, it does mean that your opening yourself up to other possibilities. If you change your mind, you might start to get better results. On the other hand, if you stick to original plan then at least you'll be better informed.
If you would like to read more, here and here are two other posts I have written on similar subjects.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
– Tim Hill