How to Take Constructive Criticism in the Workplace
26 July 2018

It’s definitely not the easiest thing to do; remaining calm and understanding while someone picks apart your mistakes, especially if that someone is your boss. And though you may want to scream or tear your hair out or even shed a tear or two, it’s worth remembering that constructive criticism is just that – constructive.

So in order to reap the positive benefits of an otherwise unpleasant situation, we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide, so you can take constructive criticism like a champ and use it to fuel your career success.


Rein In Your Gut Reaction

Many people struggle to take feedback well, but all it takes is a little mindfulness to hinder your first reaction from sabotaging your ability to learn and grow.

If you feel your anger or upset simmering beneath the surface, take a deep breath, recognize the emotion and don’t let it boil over. Give yourself a couple of seconds to process the situation and you’ll be able to stop inappropriate outbursts or facial expressions.


Create A Dialogue

Let the other person know that you have understood their criticisms and you’re ready to engage in a productive and thoughtful conversation around what next steps to take.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of stalling your initial reaction, it’s time to get to grips with their perception of your behavior or actions, so listening is hugely important. Let them talk without interrupting and when there is a natural pause, reiterate back to them that you have understood what they’re trying to get across. You’re more likely to develop a constructive working relationship with this person if you can sensibly talk through issues.


Appreciate The Feedback

Instead of viewing constructive criticism as a hindrance, say thank you to the person who brought certain issues to your attention. Address them directly and say, ‘I appreciate you bringing this up and talking to me about it’.

You don’t need to agree with everything that someone says to let him or her know you appreciate their feedback.


Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

If there’s something that you need clarifying, then speak up. Deconstructing their feedback by asking questions will allow you to identify where you’re going wrong, and how to amend your mistakes. In the same vein, if there’s something that you really disagree with, and you need to explain why you acted in a certain why (if there’s a legitimate reason) then say your peace, and that way it’ll be much easy to move on.


Create A Plan of Action  

After taking on board what a boss or colleague has to say, work out what your next steps will be. Taking the initiative to rectify your behaviour or actions will show your workforce that you’re understanding, mature and willing to go the extra mile to prove your value to the company. Acting on the information you receive could lead to a better performance review in the future and better professional relationships.


Do you have any tips on dealing with constructive criticism? Talk to us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn or check out more career and communication advice here.

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