A criticism directed at the team is also directed at its
manager: so resist the reflex to reject it, so as to hear and to
understand it. It matters little, initially, whether it is justified
or not; what is important is to identify our interlocutor's
interests: what does he fear? What does he wish to protect, or to
obtain? What does he expect from us? A criticism is always an
opportunity to be grasped!
Affirm your share of the responsibility
If my team is seen in a bad light, the greatest responsibility
falls on me. Defending them consists then in expressing clearly my
position, my choices, and even the risks I have chosen to
take. My interlocutors will be reassured if they have the
feeling that I know what I am doing and that I am in control of the
Communicate on the "And now"
If criticism does indeed reveal a problem, then there will be
action to take with the co-worker or the team: issuing an alert, looking
for solutions, reframing, coaching, etc. The manager
does not need to explain everything he is doing or planning to
do to move forward but he does need to show that he is working on
resolving the problem. He may also propose regular reviews, or
even involve his interlocutor in the process of improvement.