I’m curious what you do with anonymous criticism. I don’t really have an official policy of how I handle it and I feel I should establish one. I realize that growth in any organization and just being in a position of leadership welcomes critics. The larger we get, the more criticism I receive. The debate I’ve always heard, however, is over what to do with anonymous criticism.
I don’t appreciate critics who won’t sign their name, but since it’s part of leadership, here’s how I currently react:
- I listen to it (read the letter, email or comment) and if there is a forum to respond, such as with a blog post, I sometimes do. I try to still respond in love…even though I don’t feel like doing so at times.
- I try not to figure out who the anonymous commenter is – It’s never helpful when I do.
- I don’t give it as much weight to the criticism as when I can attach a real person to the criticism. If you want my full attention, sign your name.
- I try to figure out if there’s a reason someone felt the need to be anonymous. Have I controlled the situation too much? Have I become unapproachable? Do I stink? (It’s never bad to consider hard questions about myself.)
- I dismiss it quicker if I don’t feel it’s valid…sorry Mr. Anonymous, but it’s true. (I’m less likely to dismiss quickly if there’s a real person attached to the criticism.)
- I try not to be the anonymous critic. If I don’t like to receive it, why dish it out to others?
I don’t think I have the right answer. It’s just the one that works for me right now.
How do you respond?
- Do you read it?
- Do you ignore it?
- Do you respond to it?
- Do you take it personal?
If I’m getting a policy on handling anonymous criticism, what should I do differently than what I currently do?