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Like everything in life there is usually a cause and effect and criticism is no exception. Some of the causes of criticism include lack of trust, ignorance and jealousy. Trust is as important as competence and skeptics have a tendency to criticize the unknown. Ignorance speaks for itself. And who among us has not suffered the jealous rants of criticism levied by a co-worker who wants to steal a little of our thunder for a job well done.

Here are a few more causes of criticism: fear, negotiation and good old human nature. Fear of the unknown is a sure fire way to bring out the critics. Some people use criticism as a negotiation tactic. And criticism, especially negative, is just human nature.

You want more reasons for criticism, try politics, change, concern for others and majority rules or simply follow the leader. One person says something negative and everyone else piles on without much thought.

In business you can't afford to lose your cool even if the barrage of criticism at times seems unbearable. If you have an unruly client or bad boss you might have to sever the relationship, but if you choose to work things out and turn the negative into a positive, below are some universal suggestions I was able to glean from several experts. Not all suggestions below fit every situation, but it's a good place to start.

Stop and listen. Listen to the message behind the words. Our first instinct is to go on the defensive. "It's not my fault!" You must avoid the confrontation. Before you start churning out excuses, take a deep breath and objectively listen to the criticism being offered. Is there any veracity to what is being said?

Keep things professional and avoid retaliation. Our second instinct is to list every fault of the person responsible for inflicting this agony. I've been guilty of this one in the past.

Try not to take it personal. Work and constructive criticism come with the territory.

Learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself if you have been performing as expected. If not, you need to make the change. And above all else, don't be afraid to ask for feedback.

Acknowledge the issues and decide to tackle them head on. Ignoring the feedback will not make it disappear.

Present solutions. What can I do to help? When dealing with customers, often they look to you for solutions. Once you've listened to what they have to say think about how to solve the problem at hand.

Ask a clarifying question. There is nothing worse than a boss or client getting upset with you and then you let their problem linger without resolution. You can actually make the other party part of the solution.

After the issue is resolved, let it go. Easier said than done, especially when the criticism turns personal.

Don't try to win. If you have a frequently combative boss or client, you are not going to win every battle, even if you are right. You win by keeping your cool.

Humor. Critics often bring an intensity and ferocity to the table in the hope that they can bate you into extending their ability to keep you on the defensive. Don't fall for this. At the right time inject a little self-deprecating humor or some other lighthearted response to change the tenor of the conversation. Just be careful you time this properly or it could backfire.

In the words of American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard, "The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

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