Do you want to know how to handle criticism at work?
Workplace criticism is not something you can avoid.
This is because as humans we are prone to making mistakes.
More so, you can’t really satisfy everyone regardless of how hard you try to.
Since criticism is something you’ll have to deal with especially in your professional life, you should know how to handle and respond to criticisms at work.
Read on and discover how the best practices on how to handle criticisms at work.
How To Handle Criticism At Work
No one likes to hear negative comments about him/herself and especially not about your work as a professional.
Imagine after working so hard on a project and doing your very best to achieve excellent results only for your work to be rejected or criticized.
That can be disheartening right?
Furthermore, if you’re not careful that can make you question your skills/abilities or completely lose confidence in yourself.
Well, you only feel this way because you’ve not yet mastered the art of dealing with criticisms.
As such criticisms seem to get to you and affect you negatively.
Before we dive deeply into how to handle criticisms at work, let’s consider what criticism is from a professional point of view.
What Is Criticism From A Professional Point Of View
Generally speaking, criticism means expressing disapproval or judging someones’ mistakes, faults, or bad behavior.
When you consider this definition of criticism, you may view criticism in a bad light.
However, looking at it from a different angle (as a professional) can change the way you feel about criticism.
Given this, criticism can also be regarded as the act of evaluating performance on the job and offering an honest opinion about it.
This goes to show that criticism can be both constructive or destructive.
While one is aimed at making you a better person overall, the other breaks your spirit and ruins your self-confidence.
In a nutshell, criticism is not all that bad.
It all depends on your perspective and the intentions involved.
Nevertheless, most people despite knowing this, still don’t go down too well with criticisms.
What could be the cause of this?
Let’s find out why by looking into why most people find it difficult to handle criticism.
Why Most People Are Unable To Accept Criticism
Most people tend to react badly to criticisms.
Here are a couple of reasons why this is so.
- They have an oversensitive nature.
They are easily bothered/upset about what people have to say.
- People who find it hard to accept criticism have perfectionist tendencies.
They are not able to handle making mistakes or failures.
- They lack emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that helps you understand and control your emotions.
Thereby, helping you control your emotions when you’re being criticized at work.
- Furthermore, most people are unable to take criticism because of their ego.
They are excessively proud and can’t handle being corrected.
- They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
Some people’s confidence and self-perception are based on other people’s opinions about them.
Hence, when people think badly of them or criticize them it gets to them and makes them feel worthless.
- Also, they are overconfident.
They believe that they know it all and are infallible (without flaws).
Hence, when they make mistakes and get criticized for it, they find it difficult to accept it.
- Lastly, they lack the growth mindset.
They don’t believe that one can learn from his/her mistakes and become a better person overall.
Overall, people’s personality traits, mindset, and beliefs can make it quite difficult for them to accept criticism and improve themselves generally.
Having fully understood what criticism is and why it’s a hard thing for people to accept let’s discover how to handle criticism at work.
Tips On How To Handle Criticism At Work- Like A Pro
Handling criticism is a professional skill that every employee, boss, business owner, leader, or manager should have.
This is because handling criticisms the right way can help you improve your skills, abilities, and your overall performance.
Thereby, helping you become more efficient at what you do.
It also increases your chances of achieving success in your field of endeavor.
Consequently, making it very important to know how to handle criticism especially at work.
In discussing how to handle criticism, we’ll be looking at it from two angles which are;
- Constructive criticisms/positive feedback
- Destructive criticisms/ negative or mean-spirited criticism.
Firstly, a look into how to handle constructive criticisms at work like a pro.
1Control Your Emotions/Reactions
The first thing you need to know to better handle criticisms at work is to learn how to control your emotions.
Criticisms can be very hurtful.
As such it can lead to a lot of negative emotions/feelings.
Sometimes most people lose control of their emotions and react negatively which in turn results in negative consequences.
So when dealing with criticisms in the workplace, you must control your emotions/reactions.
One of the effective ways to do this is to not respond immediately.
When you’re being criticized, withhold your response.
You could do this by taking some deep breaths.
You could also count to 10 in your head, or ask for some time to think about the situation at hand before you respond.
This would give you enough time to articulate your responses.
This is so that you don’t say or do anything that would escalate the situation.
Consequently, helping you control your emotions and handle criticisms at work more professionally.
2It’s Not Personal, So Don’t Take It Personal
Most times workplace criticism isn’t really about you or your personality.
Rather it’s about your work or overall performance on the job.
It is agreed that your work can be considered a necessary part of your life.
Hence, if your work is being criticized it affects you directly or indirectly.
Nevertheless, if you want to be better able to handle criticism at work, you must learn to detach yourself from your professional duties.
Do not take criticisms personally.
Consider yourself and your work as separate entities.
Hence, when your work is being criticized don’t see such criticisms as a definition of your personality.
Rather see such criticisms as an evaluation of your work which is necessary for ensuring that you are efficient in your job.
By doing this you’ll realize that criticisms are not targeted at you but at the work you do.
Thereby helping you avoid taking criticisms personally.
It would also help you recognize areas where you need to improve your work, and better handle criticisms at work.
3Analyze/EvaluateThe Speakers’ Intentions
Intentions make a difference in how you handle criticisms.
One of the reasons most people are unable to handle criticisms is that they are too quick to jump to conclusions.
They make wrong assumptions about the speaker’s intentions.
As such they blow things out of proportion by reacting to criticisms given with good intentions.
So, to better handle criticisms at work like a professional, don’t be quick to assume negative things about criticisms.
Rather analyze and evaluate the speaker’s intention to understand the point of the speaker.
Ask questions as well if you’re not clear on the things that were said about you.
This is so that you don’t get the wrong idea in your head and react negatively without just cause.
Thereby helping you intelligently and professionally handle criticism at work.
4Handle Criticisms With All Sense Of Humility And Positivity
Another way to handle criticism at work is handling it with all sense of humility and positivity.
Humans are naturally egoistic.
Your ego can get the best of you.
It makes you stay fixed on your beliefs and unwilling to accept anything that could change that belief.
Thereby, making it difficult for you to become a better person and improve our abilities.
This ego makes it difficult for you to handle criticism as well.
You have a very high opinion of yourself and believe you know it all.
When you make mistakes and you’re criticized for it, it doesn’t go down well with you.
With this kind of attitude, you can never learn or become better at what you do.
No one knows it all and we must be willing to learn from our mistakes and others.
Hence the need for you to know how to handle criticism with all sense of humility and positivity.
Control your ego, be willing to learn from other people, and don’t play deaf ears to constructive criticism.
Listen attentively to what the speaker has to say regardless of the stature or status of who is speaking.
Take note of your flaws or mistakes and acknowledge the areas you need to improve.
Thereby, helping you handle criticisms at work.
5Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes
This is a proactive way to handle criticism at work.
Rather than trying to defend yourself, being aggressive, or blaming others, take responsibility for your mistakes.
Taking responsibility for your mistakes isn’t quite easy.
However, if you can build the courage to do so, it helps to avert so many negative situations and prevent things from getting awkward.
This is true especially when dealing with criticisms at work.
Be proactive in your response by sincerely apologizing.
Also, respond by stating what you’ll do to prevent such mistakes from happening again.
This also shows that you are willing to learn and determined to do things better moving forward.
Consequently, helping you handle criticism like a pro.
6Treat Criticism As Feedback And Say Thank You; Show Gratitude
Another effective way to handle constructive criticism at work is by saying thank you.
Hence when dealing with constructive criticism at work do not feel bad, resentful, or hold grudges.
Rather show gratitude by saying thank you to the speaker.
This might not be a very easy thing to do.
However, by making conscious efforts to do so and constant practice, you can build this up as a habit.
Thereby, helping you handle constructive criticism positively and professionally.
Another thing that helps is to see criticism as feedback rather than an attack on your personality.
By doing this it becomes easier to show gratitude when criticism is thrown at you.
Thus helping you handle workplace criticism like a pro.
7Take Criticism With A Light Heart; Forgive Yourself
This is more or less like dealing with the aftermath of criticism.
Sometimes criticisms can be very hurtful regardless of the good intentions of the speaker.
Most times, these hurtful feelings become too much to bear as a result, you begin to beat yourself up.
You become so hard on yourself.
You think all sorts of negative stuff about yourself like how worthless or stupid you must be to have made such a mistake.
The reason you feel this way about criticism is because of your perfectionistic tendencies.
Hence, you need to learn to go off your perfectionist tendencies.
Be more open-minded, and learn to forgive yourself.
This way you can become a better person capable of receiving criticisms with a light heart.
Thereby, helping positively you handle criticism at work.
8Remember The Lessons But Move On From The Experience
Another thing that you must keep in mind to handle criticisms is to learn to move on from that experience.
When people face criticism at work due to one mistake or the other, they refuse to let go of that experience.
They continually reflect on the situation over and over again.
Consequently, making the pain and negative feelings linger longer than they ought to.
Even more, they lose their confidence and constantly doubt or second-guess their abilities afterward.
This is a self-sabotaging habit that you need to stop so that you can better handle criticisms at work.
Mistakes are inevitable in life.
Regardless of how much of an expert you might be at what you do, you’re going to make mistakes.
Hence, you shouldn’t allow one mistake to keep you stuck and hinder you from making progress.
When you make mistakes at work and get criticized don’t dwell on the mistakes for so long.
Forget the mistakes, remember the lessons, and move on with a strong determination to do better next time.
This way, you’re handling criticism at work positively and proactively.
Now you know how to handle constructive criticisms at work
How do you handle mean-spirited criticisms that are targeted towards hurting you and making you feel bad about yourself?
How To Handle Mean-Spirited/ Unfair Criticisms At Work
Mean spirited/unfair criticisms come across as harsh, judgmental, and most times aggressive.
More so, this can drain you mentally and emotionally.
Thereby, affecting your productivity and efficiency.
Hence, here’s how to handle unfair criticisms at work.
One way to handle mean-spirited criticism is to stick up for yourself.
Condoling workplace bullying and mean-spirited criticism can affect your mental health and lead to job dissatisfaction.
More so, this would continue for as long as you let it.
Hence, the need to defend yourself against such acts by speaking up and confronting mean critics or bullies.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be aggressive or get physical.
Just be confident enough to speak up against the mistreatment.
State clearly how you feel, and your desire to be treated with respect.
Hence, helping you preserve your dignity as a person and handle criticisms at work.
This is another way to handle criticism at work.
When you’ve tried all you can to peacefully handle criticisms but it continues, then walking away could be helpful.
This is not a sign of weakness.
Rather it shows emotional maturity and a deep sense of professionalism in the workplace.
Furthermore, if unfair criticism becomes a frequent occurrence for you at work, then this could be an indication that it’ time to leave that organization.
It could also mean that your efforts are not appreciated and you’re not considered a valuable member of the team.
Rather than condoling constant and unfair criticism thereby leading to job dissatisfaction and emotional stress, remove the situation.
Preserve your sanity and dignity as a person by removing yourself from the conversation or the organization in worst-case scenarios.
Consequently, helping you handle workplace criticism.
Final Thoughts On How To Handle Criticism At Work
That’s it on how to handle criticism at work.
Criticism is a necessary ingredient for workplace productivity and efficiency.
This is because it helps to improve skills and overall performance levels.
However, this is all dependent on the kind of criticism and your perspective on the situation.
Use these tips to better handle positive and negative criticism at work.
Thereby, helping you accept positive criticism with grace and stick up for yourself against mean-spirited criticism.
How does criticism affect you?
Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
We would love to hear from you!