Have you ever presented a design or concept to your team and find yourself butting heads with one person in particular who seems to challenge every detail and counters every argument? Seems there’s always a person on a team that takes up the role of Devil’s Advocate, a term which has its origins, believe it or not, in the Catholic Church.
A Devil’s Advocate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if he may be difficult at times. He might just be looking for better answers. Don’t necessarily blow off his feedback, look at where he exposes holes in your reasoning and make sure you’re not overlooking valuable feedback. Sure, positive validation is great to hear and a boon to one’s ego. But constructive, negative feedback can prevent us from getting caught up in too much self-aggrandizing, which can blind us to flaws in our products or our thinking. Negative feedback may be disheartening to hear, but it shouldn’t cause you to throw in the towel. Rather, it should push you to become better.
By the same token, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re not just dealing with a blowhard with an axe to grind, who’s arguing for the sake of arguing. You want to seek out the critic who has experience in your space, who has the educated opinion to help you ferret out problems with your product. In other words, you'll want to seek out someone who's actually trying to make you better rather than trying to lord it over you.