Constructive Criticism

Kathleen Shaffer

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves...

Having been a realtor for over fifteen years, I enjoy having clients who have worked with me on more than one occasion. We have a common bond, a growing friendship and are comfortable with one another.

One such client had been with me for over seven years and we had completed several transactions together. In my mind, we had a close, honest and open relationship. So, when I received an email from him informing me that he was going to purchase property with another realtor, I was taken aback by the impersonal nature of his communication. I immediately called to discuss with him further about this unexpected decision.

When I asked why he was letting me go as his realtor, he said it was just a lack of communication. I pushed him for a more in-depth answer and learned that he felt I did not keep him well informed of my actions on his behalf. Since he didn’t see me on a daily basis, he felt left out of the process. He questioned whether I was truly working on his behalf.

Well, my pride took over very quickly! I started to explain to him all the benefits I was offering and that he should appreciate how I was working tirelessly for him and his family.

But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that my client’s perception needed to be acknowledged. I stepped back for a moment and realized that indeed, I had not made a concerted effort to contact him often enough and engage in conversation, which would have helped him feel connected and well served. I had essentially dropped the ball.

Through the Holy Spirit, I was able to humble myself, admit my fault and ask forgiveness. The client did move on to another agent, but I came away smarter and wiser, having learned how I could improve my communication and strengthen my other client relationships.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: How do you respond to constructive criticism in the workplace? Are you humble? Defensive?