Listening to criticism at work can stimulate professional and personal growth if you know how to effectively deal with it. Here are a few tips for adopting a more positive mindset and responding to feedback from supervisors and colleagues appropriately.
Taking a Positive View of Criticism
1. Remain relaxed.
- This is not always easy to accomplish, but, if you try to appear calm and confident, you are much more likely to feel that way.
- Keeping a check on your emotions will help you to listen better.
- Take in some deep breaths and keep your body language open. If it is not open, stop and fix it.
2. Look on the brighter side.
- If you are generally sensitive to criticism, remind yourself of your good qualities and the many things that you do well.
- Keep as good a work-life balance as you can so that you can draw on support from your loved ones or spiritual practices to help manage any tension at the office.
3. Maintain open mind.
- Your co-workers may have valuable insights for areas where you can improve.
- Listen to their point of view.
- Be receptive to different ideas and alternative approaches.
- You may just learn something that makes your job easier.
4. Find the humor in the situation.
- Even when we receive unjustified comments, we can make them easier to deal with by noticing the comic elements.
- For example, if a customer blasts you for pronouncing their name incorrectly, respond tactfully without taking it too seriously.
5. Take a compassionate road.
- Your manager may speak harshly about your performance because they are stressed about other pressures in their own lives.
- Give other people a bit of leeway if you know they just came out of a difficult budget meeting or are experiencing some challenges outside of work.
How to Respond to Feedback From Managers and Colleagues
1. Look for feedback.
- Asking for feedback regularly certainly beats waiting for the annual performance review.
- You will get prompt and specific guidance for doing your job better, and you will also demonstrate your ability to take initiative.
2. Ask more questions.
- Show the other person that you are really listening by asking pertinent questions.
- You will also clarify any areas of doubt.
3. Let the other person finish.
- Allow the other person to speak without interruptions.
- For the moment, pay attention to them instead of working to prepare your defense.
4. Check yourself.
- On a regular basis evaluate your own work.
- It will help you build a stronger foundation for reflecting on your colleagues’ remarks.
5. Pay attention to the message.
- Distinguish between the content of the message and the manner of delivery.
- Even if you think someone is being less than courteous, there may still be a bit of truth in what they are trying to communicate to you.
6. Go for a second opinion.
- Checking in with a few other people around the workplace is helpful if you need more objective input.
- You may find out that your experience is typical.
- On the other hand, you may discover that you now need to make a special effort if you and your boss appear to be a difficult fit.
7. Document, document, document.
- If there is an ongoing disagreement, find ways to support your conclusions.
- Industry statistics and internal memos may help you strengthen your case.
- And, no matter how things turn out, you will have contributed to a constructive and informed dialogue.
8. Always be gracious.
- Be a good example by offering your feedback to others in a way that is timely, specific and constructive manner.
- Focus on people’s conduct rather than their personalities.
- This is a way to encourage better morale and communication.
- Demonstrate your own willingness to cooperate with everybody even when you experience occasional conflicts.
9. Schedule a follow-up.
- Let people know how much you appreciate their advice.
- After you have had some time to implement their suggestions, explain to them how they have helped to improve your performance.
- This will also give you a chance to make a better impression on them.
Make criticism at your place of work move to your advantage.
Use the feedback and criticism of others to improve your performance and advance in your career.