6 Tips for Dealing with Criticism as a Dancer

To be a successful leader and create great energy for your own Mirror Effect, you need to take a good look at yourself and develop an awareness of how you are perceived by others. One of the most valuable ways to do this is to seek feedback from those who spend time with you. As a strong leader, you can develop the skill to accept constructive criticism, which will allow you to grow as a person and grow your positive outlook. Of course, this is harder than it sounds and takes continuous work!

Here are some tips for accepting constructive criticism so that you can grow as a leader and embrace the reflection you have on others:

  1. Stop your first reaction when you hear feedback.
  2. Remind yourself of the benefits.
  3. Listen to understand, not to respond.
  4. Always say thank you.
  5. Ask questions to gain clarity.
  6. Find out if they have a suggestion.

Let's unpack each one real quick and illustrate shall we!

Stop your first reaction when you hear feedback. Regardless of what the feedback is, try not to react to it immediately. Just let your brain absorb the information and process it.

Remind yourself of the benefits. Feedback is an advantage! You can improve your relationships and your life skills by asking for feedback. There is enormous value in constructive criticism from someone you trust.

Listen to understand, not to respond. As the person shares their thoughts with you, actively listen to what they are saying. You might even repeat it back to them to ensure you understand correctly, such as saying something like, “What I hear you saying is that I’m very creative, but I have trouble following through on projects?” Recognize that the person sharing may be nervous, but you want them to tell you the truth!

Always say thank you. It may be difficult, but it is always the right thing to do if you appreciate that someone has taken the time to give you honest, useful feedback. Remember: You do not have to agree with what they say! But you do need to acknowledge that their perception has value.

Ask questions to gain clarity. As you process any constructive criticism, ask for more information about anything that isn’t clear. For example, you might say, “Am I correct that you thought I didn’t listen to you because I didn’t use your idea for the homecoming theme?” Don’t forget to have a calm tone in your voice so that as you gain clarity, you do not sound defensive or accusatory.

Find out if they have a suggestion. Since you are seeking feedback from people you trust and whose opinions you value, it’s always OK to find out if they have a suggestion for you. You could say something like, “In the situation, you just described, what do you think I could have done to handle the situation better?” You do not necessarily need to use the suggestion, but it may be helpful to remember in the future.

Choosing to be a leader means that you’re going to have people who follow you—people who admire your character and want to emulate your behavior. Your followers eventually become a reflection of you; they will be friends, acquaintances, and strangers who want to be more like you. Over time, those who follow you will mirror the positive (and negative) qualities you demonstrate in your day-to-day life. This is what we call the “Mirror Effect,” and you’ve probably already experienced it yourself!

What is the Mirror Effect?

Have you ever been in a class where the teacher has tons of energy? He or she might have been someone who was pumped up and excited to teach, someone who led with positivity and a determination to help their students learn. You might have had days in this class where you weren’t in the best mood, but you’d feel contagious, buoyant energy from the teacher. Whether you were aware of it or not, you absorbed the positive spirit reflected from this leader. 

On the flip side, you may have also experienced what it’s like when you had a teacher who came into the room with a grumpy or cranky attitude. If you were in a good mood, it might have slipped away from you as soon as you sensed this teacher’s vibe. The entire demeanor of the classroom might have changed as a result—it probably felt like life and energy was sucked out of the atmosphere.

Choosing to be a leader means that you’re going to have people who follow you—people who admire your character and want to emulate your behavior.

Both of these scenarios are examples of the Mirror Effect in action. Leaders of all kinds—not just teachers—have their unique mirror. Their followers, whether consciously or unconsciously, mirror the leader’s perspective. People naturally act upon what they see at home, at school, at activities, and wherever there is a leader. Leaders set the tone and create the climate around themselves; followers are their reflection.

Think about a peer or friend you’ve considered to be a leader. The same principle of the Mirror Effect applies, as in our teacher examples above. Without even realizing it, you may have reflected this friend’s energy that they projected to you and others. Maybe it was good energy where you felt happy or empowered, or it could have been negative energy where you felt down about yourself or uncomfortable. Either way, you know how it feels to be influenced! Now, as a leader yourself, you have the opportunity to be a positive influence to those around you.

How Does the Mirror Effect Influence Your Behavior - and How to Make It Work for You?

Understanding more about your behavior and having an awareness of your influence can help you make sure your Mirror Effect is a positive one. Take time to reflect on the constructive criticism you receive from people you respect and use that information to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Self-improvement comes from this kind of humility and willingness to do hard work. Remember to be accepting and gracious, avoiding defensiveness, so that you can gain important insights about yourself. Feedback is not always easy to give or receive, but it will help you grow!

Never forget that as a leader, the energy you project will be absorbed by those around you.

Never forget that as a leader, the energy you project will be absorbed by those around you. The Mirror Effect is happening all the time, whether you realize it or not! Choose to lead with a positive spirit, and you will see uplifting reflections in return.

Nov 23, 2020

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