Monday, October 01, 2007

Accepting Criticism

Found this via Geeks are Sexy - How to Accept Criticism with Grace and Appreciation

When you work with the public you are use to criticism - both constructive and destructive. But this article has some good things to remember on accepting criticism:
Stop Your First Reaction
If your first reaction is to lash back at the person giving the criticism, or to become defensive, take a minute before reacting at all. Take a deep breath, and give it a little thought...

Turn a Negative Into a Positive
...find the positive in it. Sure, it may be rude and mean, but in most criticism, you can find a nugget of gold: honest feedback and a suggestion for improvement...

Thank the Critic
Even if someone is harsh and rude, thank them. They might have been having a bad day, or maybe they’re just a negative person in general. But even so, your attitude of gratitude will probably catch them off-guard...

Learn from the Criticism
After seeing criticism in a positive light, and thanking the critic, don’t just move on and go back to business as usual. Actually try to improve...

Be the Better Person
Too many times we take criticism as a personal attack, as an insult to who we are. But it’s not. Well, perhaps sometimes it is, but we don’t have to take it that way. Take it as a criticism of your actions, not your person. If you do that, you can detach yourself from the criticism emotionally and see what should be done...

My idle observation is that libraries/librarians have a hard time actively soliciting criticism to better their services, collections, collect data for increase staff, etc. With free online surveys and polls there's really no reason why libraries/librarians can't post a little something online (or make something available in print) to see what their patrons think. Yes -- there will be the occasional "U suxx0r5!" but there will also be the "I appreciate the assistance and smiling faces I see when I visit XYZ Library" responses.

I also think librarians are afraid to solicit this information because in library school they teach us the importance of customer feedback but not how to act upon it. That's where having a clear mission statement for your core service areas is vitally important. This includes dealing with both an external mission statement for the public as well as a mission statement for your staff and colleagues and what you hope to accomplish as professionals. And don't forget to revisit these mission statements regularly.

Having said all that -- what are your thoughts?

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