How to Deal With Criticism at Work, Even When It Feels Personal

The one thing that affects a major part of your life is the stress of dealing with criticism, especially at work. It can hamper productivity levels and invade your thoughts outside the office. If you don’t possess the capacity to handle it well, negative feedback from your superiors or colleagues can ultimately derail your career goals.

You can’t prevent people from criticizing you, but you can prevent the way you handle it. Turn negative reactions to positive ones, as not all criticism is bad. It can often proof valuable for your success. Very often people withdraw into a shell as they take criticism as a personal attack, or as a sign that the things they do aren’t being acknowledged or appreciated. This is one of the most common mistakes when sealing with criticism. It may hurt at times, but it is wise not to take it personally. Sometimes constructive criticism is needed and comes with the corporate territory.

Here are few days to deal with criticism at work:

Be receptive and keep it professional

It is important to be open-minded about what the other person is really saying and not jump to any conclusions. Don’t disregard comments from your colleagues or higher authorities, even if they are negative. Even if you don’t have a high regard for that person, stay objective to what they are saying. Be professional and make eye contact to show you are actively engaged in that conversation.

Ask questions

It is easy to misinterpret negative criticism. You can prevent bigger understandings down the road by asking follow-up questions during the conversation. This shows that you are genuinely interested to figure out a solution and the response from the other end will help you gauge whether the negative feedback is actually relevant.

Don’t get too defensive

It is easy to get defensive when you are being criticized, at work and even at home. Give your colleagues or boss to express their thoughts. Fight the urge to get overly defensive as the other person may have a reasonable explanation or point backing up their negative comment. You will never be able to pick up what’s really wrong if you are defending yourself.

Stay calm and composed

It is important to not lose your temper in a professional setting. You have to be rational and calm during criticism. Most of the time, it’s the manner in which negative feedback was delivered rather than the content of the message that people find offensive. If feedback was given in a constructive environment, it’s much easier to take criticism lightly. If the criticism is getting too difficult to handle, politely tell the speaker that you think it is best that discussion is carried on at some other time. Remember the other person too is a human and may make the mistake of going overboard in his/her criticism of you. So it is best to resume the discussion later on when both of you had a chance to calm down and think objectively at the situation.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the criticism

You can always ask for clarification from the criticiser in order to determine which areas need improvement from your end. This will force the criticiser to really justify their comments. It is important to address the root cause of the problem, regardless of who is at fault.

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