Criticism is something that comes with the job, whether you like it or not. And nobody likes to be told that they’ve made a mistake or overstepped their boundaries. What will make all the difference is how you react while being on the receiving end.
Here’s the first thing you need to keep in mind when being criticised: It’s OK! It doesn’t have to be a bad thing; in fact, you can turn a criticism around and make it work to your advantage. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and has things to learn. What’s wrong is when you refuse to listen to the criticism and keeps making the same mistake instead of learning how to improve yourself.
Ready to take criticism at work like a champ? Here are five ways to do it.
#1 Don’t take it personally
It is good to remember that the criticism isn’t a personal attack but more about something that you did wrong. The person dishing out the criticism isn’t out to harm you; if it is a boss, it’s a way to let you know that you could do something better. Just because you did something wrong doesn’t make you a lousy person.
Note: Unfortunately, some people criticise for the fun of it. If the person is being overly negative and aggressive, and the criticism touches more than just your work, then that individual has crossed the line. It’s unprofessional and the right thing for you to do is to remove yourself from the situation and not put up with the bullying.
#2 Think of it as feedback
A criticism is a feedback on your performance thus far. And the reason why you’re getting that criticism is because the other person wants you to do better. Not getting any criticism could very well mean that nobody at the office cares about what’s going on or how its employees are faring. Which isn’t going to work in your advantage when it comes to self-improvement.
Open your mind and listen to what the other person has to say. Don’t interrupt by getting defensive or trying to explain yourself. Listen so that you actually understand what is being said as opposed to already forming negative thoughts in your mind about how wrong the other person is. Assume the intention is good and receive the feedback positively.
#4 Ask questions
It’s good to clarify things if you’re unsure of what’s being highlighted in the criticism. That way you actually learn from your mistakes. Once the other person is done talking, repeat what you think are the important points mentioned and ask for more details, or things you should do to address the criticism. Be careful not to sound defensive though; it’s a thin line between wanting to defend yourself and wanting to learn.
#5 Say thank you
It’s hard to be gracious when someone is pointing out your faults. But that is exactly what you should do when receiving criticism. It’s tough to hear the thing you’ve done wrong but the only way to really embrace it is with a positive attitude. Criticism is something everyone has to deal with. Make it more tolerable by taking a positive approach. Mean it too! Being sarcastic with your thanks isn’t going to help the situation.
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