- Write a long message responding to internal or external criticism.
Complicated workplace situations may require more extensive communication when criticism is involved. Remember that receiving criticism at work is normal. Whether it is coming from a co-worker or your manager, it is important to keep your emotions under control and be professional and even graceful despite how you may feel about the criticism.
If you are on the receiving end of internal criticism that requires a written response, it should be comprehensive in order to be effective. Some recommended guidelines would include the following:
- Solicit all of the facts of the matter. Do not be afraid to ask for all the details.
- Acknowledge what is stated and paraphrase in non-offensive words.
- Agree if the criticism is true. Apologize if necessary. Explain how the critical remarks will affect your behavior and actions in the future.
- Disagree if the criticism is not accurate. Be respectful and constructive in your response.
- Think about finding a compromise position that will alleviate future concerns.
If the issue relates to a product or service failure experienced by customers or consumers, you might want to check with your company’s legal department before responding. Issues that could lead to liability lawsuits should be handled carefully right from the beginning.
Here is an example of a response to internal criticism from a co-worker:
To: Chris Smith
From: Mike Hines
Subject: Your message regarding Dean Herzog
I received your message regarding Dean’s participation at the regional conference last week. Your note was quite critical about his presentation being cut short in relation to the others. I realize that Dean is an important member of your team and was representing you and the rest of your team who could not attend the conference.
Let me begin by apologizing for the situation. Dean was the last scheduled speaker, and many of the earlier activities on the agenda ran over their allotted time. We did our best to keep everything on schedule, but many attendees came back late from lunch and really set us back on Friday.
I sent Dean a note apologizing to him directly. In the future, we will be more realistic about how much we can pack into a day of a regional conference and leave some extra time at the end for presentations that would be cut short due to schedule issues.