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  • Writer's pictureVinayak Jawalkar

How to handle criticism at work?

How to handle criticism at work?

We can never avoid criticism in our day-to-day lives.

Be it work or personal life, others will criticise our actions.

Some people easily disregard and continue.

Others find it difficult to react or face criticism, resulting in emotional issues.

Learning how to handle criticism at work improves our future emotional well-being.

Practical tips: How to handle criticism at work?

Here are some ways you can consider:

1. Boldly confront criticism

Whether it is feedback from your boss or colleague, your first instinct might be to defend yourself.

But wait!

You should handle criticism differently. Allow others to share the criticism. Rather than defending, pause and take a deep breath to find calm.

This will help you avoid reacting and try to respond to the person professionally. If you react, you enter a defensive mode, which signals to the other person that you are not open to criticism.

So, face the criticism first.

2. Listen attentively

Without getting distracted or emotionally down, try to listen to what the person says.

Pay close attention.

Let them speak before you have your questions or clarifications. Allow them to talk and do not form any judgment about them.

Keep in mind that others share their perspective, not the absolute truth. So, try to see their perspective instead of stopping their conversation.

3. Distinguish criticism from self-esteem

Attaching what you hear from others to your self-worth is unnecessary.

What you are is what you believe. You form your self-worth only. Don’t allow a single criticism to destroy your self-worth.

When others criticise you, they refer to a specific action or your work and not your value. So, do not take it personally.

4. Search for truth

Criticisms need to be completely true. It may be true to the other person because it is their perspective.

You should know they are sharing their views about you, so you should not consider it as the truth. There could be some truth in it.

Check for opportunities to learn and improve.

5. Inquire for further details

Listen to criticism, then ask clarifying questions if needed.

Seek details or instances when you struggle to comprehend their message.

Their story about you and their criticism may be two different things.

When you ask questions, you have time to learn more about yourself and also the other person’s perspective.

This shows you’re open to understanding the feedback better.

6. Express gratitude to the person

Even if the criticism is severe and you can’t accept it, thank the person for giving you the feedback.

Often, our clarity is lacking, while others can offer valuable perspectives by highlighting our mistakes.

Knowing others’ opinions is valuable for learning.

So, thanking the other person is showing gratitude for the feedback you received.

7. Practise self-reflection

Sometimes, you might take time to process the feedback later. It is fine if you cannot ask questions or take the criticism personally.

Reflect on the feedback at your own pace.

See what you can learn and improve from the criticism you received.

Self-reflection is valuable after a deep conversation.

Handling work criticism is an ongoing process

Sometimes, you take the criticism personally and sometimes you are a pro at handling it better.

Either way, it is a learning phase, and no one is an exception.

Learn from the criticism and allow yourself to become a better person at work.


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