5 ways to deal with criticism at work
Handling criticism the right way — especially if it is constructive — can make you a better, more efficient performer at work.
1. DON’T GET DEFENSIVE
When a mistake is pointed out, the first instinct of most people is to get defensive and attempt to justify it. This deters growth and self-improvement, says Sudeep Singh, CEO and chief evangelist at co-working operator GoWork.
So, when someone criticises your work, try to listen and absorb what’s being pointed out. “For you to respond to the criticism accurately, and even get your point across, it is imperative you first listen carefully to what is being said,” says Singh.
2. USE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY
Request for one-on-one feedback where you can sit across the table and talk it out candidly.
“Discussions can work wonders in any situation and can let you into the thought process of the other person, which you are likely to have no insight into otherwise. An unbiased one-to-one discussion can help you and your colleague/reporting head put forth mutual concerns and areas of challenge and you can strive to do better as a team,” advises GoWork’s Singh.
3. DO NOT FEEL TARGETED
One must learn to use hardships as a platform to build, and not burn bridges, says Rohan Bhargava, co-founder of cashback website CashKaro.
“Keep negative thoughts at bay and accept feedback graciously before you draw conclusions. Don’t assume that the other person is deliberately trying to deter your spirit. On the flip side, if a person criticises you, probe for a constructive thought,” Bhargava says.
4. DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Criticism at work may not always be a true reflection of one’s performance. “It could also stem from factors such as critical deadlines, ambitious targets and pressure that flows top down,” says GoWork’s Singh. “Therefore, if you’re facing criticism at work that may be harsher than necessary, please take stock of the situation and do not let it adversely affect your self-esteem,” he says.
5. STEP INTO THE OTHER’S SHOES
You must empower your professional relationships and not let problems affect your equation with colleagues, says CashKaro’s Bhargava. If you try to be objective about issues, the criticism will begin to make sense, he says.
“You will be able to see and empathise with the other person’s point of view. It is difficult to do so but to see a situation from another perspective can be insightful,” he says.