Dealing with criticism

It is a fact of life that sooner or later you are going to face some criticism, both in your personal life and in your career. Criticism on the job can be very hard to take since our careers are so important to us. However, the way we handle criticism can help define other people’s perception of us.

The first thing to remember is that not all critism is a bad thing. The current ‘in’ term for it is feedback, and many employers will judge you on your acceptance of feedback – both positive and negative – as part of your performance.

Often, it is the attitude of the person giving you feedback that will determine how you will respond, but there are things to remember that will help you handle it. And remember also, if the other person is taking their feedback or critism beyond a professional level, then it’s your responsibility to address that. When genuine critism or feedback moves into the bullying arena, the first person who needs to do something about correcting the situation is you. Accepting that you have the power to address the problem is the first step to solving it.

Most people are okay with accepting positive feedback but when you are facing negative feedback and criticism it can be very difficult to keep a cool head or think ahead enough to consider your actions carefully. Try to listen to what the other person is saying to you, and let them know that you are listening. If they believe that you are taking what they have said on board, they are less like to feel they need to keep reiterating themselves, giving them a chance to get more angry and frustrated. Try nodding and looking them in the eye so they can see you are listening. Turn the conversation, if possible, to a more positive note by entering into a discussion about how things could have been done better. Very few people will remain negative when you make it obvious that you are prepared to learn from your mistakes.

Try to hear what the other person is saying. It might not always be easy to take, but remember they probably have a point worth listening to and learning from.

Once you have listened calmly to the other person’s point of view, calmly try and present your viewpoint to them. If you have already done them the courtesy of listening, then there is a better chance that they will return the favour. Ask for their opinion on your point of view, so that they feel you are interested in what they have to say too.

Remember to keep your head and keep calm, so that you can turn this experience into a positive one.

Category: Articles