Handling Constructive Criticism at Work | Do you hate it when people notice the errors in your thoughts, projects or work efforts? Do you cringe at their attempt to modify or critique your assignments? Shouldn’t those efforts, to at least some point, remain a personal reflection of you without the interference of others? Many people feel pretty defensive when coworkers or managers provide constructive criticism; these words of advice expose flaws and may make you feel vulnerable, falling short of the goal.
However, constructive criticism isn’t meant to hurt or injure; it attempts to provide reflection and inspire improvement. If you don’t learn to recognize faults and talents, you remain stagnant, lacking progression. Next time someone makes a suggestion, try to use the following strategies to minimize frustration and embrace their help.
1. Don’t Get Emotional
“Don’t you think this would be better if…” is a statement that few want to hear. Your first reaction could be to grimace, groan or eye roll. None of which is appropriate for the office. These reflections show others you allow feelings to dominate over logic. While it’s hard to listen to feedback, you should learn to hide any disappointment or sadness. Maintain a smile. Quietly take in the information and remain stoic and polite. Most likely, the person making suggestions isn’t trying to hurt you or your work.
2. Learn to Listen and Question
Those skilled in negotiation training learn early to absorb what others say. Their input remains critically valuable in easing problems, reaching goals and alleviating tension and disagreements. The same thought process proves well in receiving criticism. When you’re on the receiving end, think about the person’s intentions and what they desire in the long run. Listen carefully to the suggestions made and assess whether they elevate your project overall.
Furthermore, don’t just accept something at face value. Turn critiques into conversations. Why do they want to make that change? How do they see that adding to your ideas? What is the overarching objective, and how best do they see you reaching it? When the dialogue begins, it’s not as much about criticizing as exchanging concepts.
Also, inquire about the positives. Perhaps someone leads with the negatives without thinking about what you did well. Talk about what they like or want to keep. Is there something that impresses or stands out? It may feel less harsh than a generally negative review when both are presented.
3. Be Polite
Remind yourself that rude behavior isn’t welcome in the office, so no matter what, mind those manners. Even if you don’t like the advice, remain polite, saying “thank you” when provided feedback. Don’t complain or get into arguments. These decisions hinder relationships and make it hard to collaborate in the future. Try to understand where the person is coming from. Accept the information, and move on.
4. Find Solutions
If someone has concerns, others may too. So, whether you love what you’ve done or not, these words could be a sign that you missed the mark somewhere. You can remain reactive and unproductive or choose proactive and productive. The latter demonstrates a positive mindset that many employers love to see.
Use this as an opportunity to make amendments, enhancing rather than staying the same. What could you do to win over the critic? Could you take the feedback and use it to make something better? Show your office mates that you want to continue to grow by reworking problem areas.
Okay, most people understand that criticism hurts. That’s the truth. It reveals your weakness.
However, you could turn that negative into a positive, demonstrating your hard work and effort.
So the next time you think about wrinkling your nose or squinting your eyes, think again. Take a deep breath, and consider the person’s perspective. What you see as criticism could be viewed as help. Reflect on the ideas, adapt your concepts and win over the critics by making something they didn’t love, something they cherish.