HR Strange But True!
January 18, 2007

Chief executive officers are the least and middle managers are the most able to accept criticism, according to a study by PsyMax Solutions, a human capital assessment firm.

The firm looked at several different positions within organizations to see how they scored in terms of tough-mindedness and resilience, also known as ability to accept criticism.

Middle managers scored highest (84 percent), followed by department managers (79 percent), supervisors (78 percent), executives (73 percent), professional workers (73 percent), administrative workers (73 percent), and chief executive officers (66 percent).

"The study suggests that middle managers have the greatest ability to accept criticism," says Wayne Nemeroff, chief executive of the firm. "Perhaps because of the nature of the middle management role they continuously get feedback from all directions, from above, below, and sideways. Those at the center of the organizational structure demonstrate strength in being able to manage stress and to keep resilient in the face of frustration, disappointment, or criticism."

Nemeroff offered tips for individuals who want to be more resilient, such as becoming more open to critical comments and seeking to learn from them.

"They should also try to share their thoughts or reactions, and not bottle them up," says Nemeroff. "In fact, too much emotional control may cause people to close down their open communication and listening skills. So they should speak more openly and be more willing to be self-revealing. Don't make people guess where you're coming from and question whether or not you're really listening to them."

Source: PsyMax Solutions

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