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Dealing with Criticism at Work

In the words of many:

"If you are not open to criticism, you are not open to growth"

Now, a lot of times, we may get defensive or upset after the criticism, but a general audience just does not accept this response. And if we are on the receiving end of criticism, then we must not forget the very fact that it is the only way to know and improve ourselves.

Another question that immediately pops up is the way we were criticized. Not only in corporates but in real life too, it has been proven time and again, that constructive criticism is the best way of reviewing. Yet, to take that also takes as much effort.

Also, if it at all there is a need to improve, a slight change or pointing an error, despite its positive outcome, the chances of us perceiving it positively are very very less.

How do we Perceive Criticism?

While success and failure are a part of our lives, the outlook brought by these two aspects is very different. A successful person is always looked upon with reverence, every act of his in the past and the present are considered miracles and a motivating strategy for everyone to follow.

On the contrary, a person who has failed or is still on the path of success is questioned. They have to prove at each and every level in order to get other's approval. In spite of all the efforts, there is no guarantee for others to confide in his methods and show support before the results become visible.

During this process, there is one other aspect he has to endure Criticism.

During the times when many aspects are subjective and when everyone thinks differently, even the approaches, expectations, and outcomes will be very different. This creates a lot of room for criticism in some way or the other. In some cases, criticism becomes so caustic and heavy that we take it to our hearts and tend to compromise on our goals and processes, leading to mediocre performances.

How to Deal with Criticism at Work Positively?

Criticism if constructive is very useful, but many times it is derogatory in nature and passed on to us in Corporates in the name of feedback. Ultimately, this demotivates us and push us to perform poorly and become ignorant of valuable feedback too.

So, how shall we overcome this? How shall we utilize the criticism to our best, irrespective of whether the criticism is constructive or destructive?

a) First and foremost, listen to the critic properly. Do not let your listening skills be affected by the preconceived notions of the critic or your past relationship with him/ her.

b) Ask ‘Why’? Any person who randomly criticizes you because of jealousy or any other reason will not pass this test.

c) Develop a dialog. Let the critic provide his logics and his reasons

d) Think about it superficially and highlight your point of view and question the validity of his reasons, if possible

e) Thank him for the reasons provided and assure him that you will think about them.

f) Re-evaluate your options based on the new points added by the critic.

g) Act accordingly. If there is any change in your approach, make sure you make the amendments

h) Acknowledge the support provided by the critic and thank him.

Thinking: Easier Said than Done?

Most definitely!

  • Even though this seems to be very simple and familiar, in reality, it is rarely practiced. It requires a lot of self-belief and dedication to stay focused.

  • If you practice this process frequently, it brings you more clarity in your thought and helps in bringing a lot of improvements.

  • Sometimes, there are people who may not convey their message constructively, and just because of that, you should not lose the value they could provide to your cause.

Should you always accept Criticism?

If a critic is not able to provide his reasons, it is good to ignore them. If they are intentionally doing it to hinder your progress, your attention towards them will only make them successful in stopping your progress. Of course, there is a limit to everything. If they cross the limit, you need to choose the right channels and ways to mitigate the problems caused by them.

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