Handling Criticism at Work

By on December 7, 2013

Constructive criticism at work stimulates both professional and personal growth, but only if you understand how to deal with it effectively. The following guidelines will help you in adopting a positive mindset and in responding to feedback from supervisors and work colleagues.


  1. Remain upbeat and remind yourself of all the things you do well and draw on the support you receive from loved ones to help manage any tension at the office.
  2. Chill, because if you strive to remain calm and confident, you’re much more likely to end up feeling that way. Keeping your emotions under control will make you a better listener. Take some steady, deep breaths and focus on keeping your body language open.
  3. See the funny side because even unjustified comments can become easier to deal with by noting the comical elements in them. Remain tactful and where appropriate, avoid taking them all too seriously.
  4. Show compassion in the knowledge that your supervisor may be speaking overly harshly about your performance due to stresses or pressures in their own life. Give them some leeway where appropriate.
  5. Remain open-minded to your co-workers who may have valuable suggestions for areas where you can improve. Respect their point of view and be receptive to new ideas and alternative approaches.

Handling Feedback From Supervisors and Colleagues

  1. Seek regular feedback before your annual performance review. That way you’ll get relevant and useful tips for doing your job better, and you’ll demonstrate your ability to take the initiative.
  2. Take regular self-appraisals in order to give you a stronger basis upon which to reflect concerning colleagues feedback.
  3. Listen carefully and learn to clearly differentiate between message content and the manner in which the message is delivered. Let the other person say their piece without interruption, instead of concentrating totally on preparing your defense.
  4. Seek a second opinion via a snap poll involving other people around the office in situations where you’re needing additional objective input.
  5. Document your position if there’s ongoing disagreement by finding ways to support your conclusions. Industry statistics or internal memos can often help strengthen your case.
  6. Demonstrate grace by volunteering your feedback in a way that’s timely and specific. Focus on the way people conduct themselves rather than their specific personalities. This is important for encouragement of better morale and improved office communications. Demonstrate your willingness to cooperate with everybody, especially when you run into conflict.
  7. Provide follow-up and let people know how much you appreciate their advice and how they have helped to improve your performance. 

Take constructive criticism at work and use it to your advantage. Use the feedback you get from others to help improve your performance and thereby contribute to further advancing your career. If you have some experiences here you’d like to share then feel free to post a comment below.

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