Tips for Handling Criticism At Work

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Published: 28 Jul 2017      

The workplace is not always easy. There will be times that you come in for criticism, be it for decisions you made or as a general means to help you get better. If you have a good manager, this criticism will prove constructive and help you advance in your role. Poor managers may frame criticism poorly, but you should still try to learn from what’s said to become better.

The latter situation makes handling criticism difficult, at times. That’s why we’ve compiled a few ideas for how you should deal with criticism in the workplace when you encounter it.

Listen to the Criticiser

A lot of people jump on the defensive the moment somebody says something they perceive to be negative. That is not the purpose of workplace criticism. Instead of getting upset, actually listen to what the person is saying. Ask questions if you’re unsure about where the criticism is leading. You may not agree with what’s being said. However, taking the time to listen allows you to understand the other person’s viewpoint and, if necessary, formulate a response.

No Instant Reactions

If criticism upsets you, it’s likely that your first reaction will be born of emotion. That’s a dangerous thing in the workplace. You could cause issues with your job if you allow your emotions to get the better of you. Instead, take the criticism on board and sit back for a little while. Spend some time calming your mind and going through what was said so that you don’t jump to the first response that comes to mind.

Assume The Criticiser Has Good Intentions

This is an important one. Assuming the person who criticises you is trying to tear you down immediately leads to a defensive response. The likelihood is that the criticism is an attempt to help you realise what you could do better. This is especially the case if it comes from somebody in management. Take it on board and learn from it, rather than assuming that everybody is out to get you.

Don’t Take It Personally

It can feel as though criticism is a personal attack, especially as it focuses so heavily on the things that you could do better. Always remember that this isn’t the case. You should only receive criticism based on your role in the workplace. Of course, it’s possible that somebody may throw in personal shots at you when offering criticism. Don’t rise to them. Instead, alert the HR department in cases where workplace criticism clearly veers over into personal criticism. Good criticism won’t do this. Instead, it will focus solely on what you can do to improve yourself in the workplace.

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

A lot of people suffer a crisis of confidence after receiving criticism. This can feel like a natural reaction. However, it’s important to now allow criticism to ruin your day. Remember that everybody makes mistakes and can improve, no matter what they do for a living. Try to see criticism as a way to be better and don’t be hard on yourself for making the occasional mistake.

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