How do you respond to a criticism or to a correction? Many business owners look upon such an action as a rejection by a potential client or as an employee not being grateful for a job. Becoming defensive when encountering a correction or a suggestion opposite to your views is the wrong move to make.
Even worst than becoming defensive is to shun the person and vow to never see or speak to them again. In a recent meeting with a potential client, she shared that others just don’t understand or appreciate all that she is trying to do.
Ego plays a big role, especially in the early years of a business’ growth. “After all, you started the business and what you say or do has to be the final word.” In my opinion, many people that correct you or offer a different view do so because they want the best for you. They are sent into our lives to provide a teaching moment. We must keep an open mind and heart to these comments and evaluate them to see why they were spoken. No, we don’t have to change our direction or take a personal affront, but many times we can gain some good by listening.
In a recent article by Bob Gass, he spoke of four characteristics of, what I term, is a good business leader:
- Vulnerability: when one is wrong or when a better idea is presented, be willing to admit it.
- Teachability: one is willing to listen, quick to learn and always open to “counsel.”
- Availability: one doesn’t try to avoid a potentially unpleasant situation.
- Honesty: one is committed to the truth, regardless of how it may deflate the ego.
Setting a high standard in a business has to start with the owner from the very first moment of the inception of a business. You may have a vision as to where you want to take your business, but people are sent into our lives, in most cases, to help us reach our goals.
The ultimate measure of a man in not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The same is true for a person who wants to grow a sustainable and profitable business.
Nick J. Petra CFP