5 Steps for Dealing with Criticism at Work

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Work can already be extremely stressful, especially if you are a female trying to advance your career in a male-dominated workplace. When you receive criticism from your colleagues or a superior, this can really bring you down.

Instead of letting criticisms steal your positive focus, try to view them as constructive coaching opportunities that can help you achieve your goals in the future. Obviously, as you likely take your work very personally, this can be easier said than done. The next time you receive negative feedback, follow these simple steps.

1. Listen Thoughtfully to the Criticism

When someone in a leadership role offers you feedback, either negative or positive, view this as valuable insight, and learn all that you can. Even if the person criticizing your work is not a superior, they could have the experience necessary to teach you something new.

Take in everything that these individual have to say, as they offer a perspective on your work that you cannot see for yourself. Stay calm, do not interrupt, and really listen to what they have to say. You will likely learn something that will allow you to avoid mistakes in the future.

2. Resist the Urge to Be Defensive

As explained in the Wall Street Journal, when your only focus is thinking about how you are going to defend yourself, you are not really listening or processing what you are hearing. Also, an executive at your organization is not going to think of you for future leadership opportunities if you are constantly interrupting and arguing while they are trying to provide on-the-job coaching.

3. Ask for Clarification If Necessary

There is a good chance that the negative feedback you have received is not as terrible as you are imagining. For example, you might think a colleague is criticizing an entire project, when they are really only addressing a one small element.

It can be very helpful to ask the person to provide specific examples of any problems. This allows you to see and understand exactly what they mean and to avoid blowing the problem out of proportion.

4. Try to Agree with at Least One Point

Look back on your performance through the other person’s perspective and look for any truth to the criticism that you can find. If you are able to agree with and acknowledge at least one point that was made in the criticism, you might not be happy to admit there was a mistake, but this can help you to see that this person really is trying to improve your results.

5. Be Grateful for an Opportunity to Improve

Once you find and fix the errors that were acknowledged, stay positive, and be grateful that you are now providing better results because of the criticism. Your performance in the future will be stronger because you received this coaching and because you now know how to avoid these mistakes. Take all of the feedback you receive and view it as a tool that you can use to achieve your goals.

Executive Coach Monique Betty is a leading provider of career and leadership coaching for high potential professionals in the workplace. Be a part of the CareerSYNC community and receive inspiration and insights on tools and techniques for creating your pathway to a successful career. Click Here to Join!


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