Criticism in the workplace is part of everyday business. The problem is often that we don’t know exactly how to deal with it and take constructive feedback the wrong way. Constructive criticism merely expresses opinions that are well-founded and contain both positive and negative aspects.
The goal of this should always be to improve the performance or productivity of the person being criticized and to help them develop.
In this blog post, we take the side of the criticized person and give you 4 tips to better deal with criticism at work.
1. Control your reaction
Everything about your reaction is important because your response can be taken as an indicator of the maturity and professionalism you exude. Note that body language and the words are crucial when it comes to responding to the criticism expressed. In doing so, try to show a confident and mature response.
The first reaction – no reaction
The first reaction you should show is no reaction. You can create a controlled reaction by first taking a deep breath and pausing before speaking. This calms you down inside and avoids the emotional outbursts that you might regret later.
This seems simple, but it’s usually not so easy to respond to criticism in this way. Nevertheless, the great advantage of breathing is that in this moment you regain control over your body language and facial expressions and can respond to the criticism more confidently.
Think about the situation and gain distance
Ask the person if you can think about the conversation for a while and then talk to them again. Gain distance from the situation and try to keep your comments to a minimum until you have processed the criticism and drawn your conclusions.
2. Do not take it personally
One issue that can be brought up if the first point is ignored is the potential for personal vulnerability. We quickly deviate to the personal track when criticized.
This is because the criticism is communicated to us on a personal level by a human being and it is no longer possible to distinguish between the thing (criticism) and the human being.
Every person who goes to work every day also identifies in some way with the tasks and projects they implement there. As a result, they see their work as an extension of themselves.
Try to separate yourself as a person from the tasks you do and realize that the tasks of your work do not reflect your character or personality.
3. Be open to criticism
Criticism is a good thing – it gives you the opportunity to get better and faster in your area of expertise. Even if it doesn’t feel good at first, constructive feedback has a lot of positive things in it. Criticism at work is often a shortcut to moving forward faster in an issue. It is at least as important in your development as the praise you receive for your tasks – if not more so.
The first step to benefit from criticism in the workplace is to be open to it. Actively listen to what is being said and take time to absorb the information. Assume that the person is honest and has good intentions. Even if the feedback is not tactful, that does not mean it is meant to be hurtful.
See criticism as help
Remember that any constructive feedback is a sign of interest and a sign that people want to help you improve. It would be far worse if someone noticed that you were doing a bad job and didn’t say a word about it.
4. Share the feedback
Find a mentor, colleague, or advisor and share the feedback with them. This is a good way to get a different perspective from someone whose opinion you trust. Ask the person if they think the feedback is accurate.
Another benefit of sharing feedback is that your mentor or colleague won’t be too hard on you. The outsider can evaluate such situations more rationally.
Dealing with criticism in the workplace is never pleasant. However, you can train it and try to draw the right conclusions from it in order to develop professionally. Don’t take criticism personally, and try not to show your first emotions directly. If you follow these tips, you will realize how important and helpful constructive criticism can be for you to become even more successful in your job.
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