THE ART OF HANDLING CRITICISM
CRITICISM - disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.
There’s nothing even the slightest bit pleasant in that meaning.
None of us like being told that our work isn’t up to the mark. Then it is no wonder that for a majority of us, accepting criticism is like swallowing a rock. Painfully hard and it hurts. Learning to gracefully accept criticism is an art that not even the most experienced employee can completely master as we all get flustered at some time or the other.
But, as Friedrich Nietzsche aptly said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”. Don't get discouraged .The purpose of critique is to help improve. Constructive criticism is a key part of any job .Here are some tips for making the most of a less-than-perfect critique:
- Pay close attention to what is being said. If you ignore critical comments, you might repeat the same mistakes again. Take notes and continually remind yourself how to fix the problem. Don’t interfere or formulate rebuttals when criticism is forthcoming. Allow the speaker to finish. Keep your face still. If you frown, the person talking might stop and you'll never get the full benefit. Ask: "What can I do to improve my work?”. This forces criticism to be constructive not destructive.
- Don’t respond defensively with comments like, “But I thought that’s what you wanted” or “This is what I was told to do”. Stay composed and don’t raise your voice unless you want to make things harder for yourself. If you disagree with what is being said, express it in the form of a question. If someone says, "I just don't like it" ask why. Quite often people have personal reasons for not liking something, which might have nothing to do with your work.
- If you’re uncertain of what someone is trying to tell you, don’t pretend to understand. Ask them questions like “Could you be more specific?” or “Are you saying…?”.It is important to actually understand the problem if you want to prevent it from repeating itself. Remain open to suggestions, your work will improve and so will your professional reputation as someone who is open minded.
- Don’t be mute. You don’t want to come across as unreceptive therefore it is always wise to explain your rationale behind doing something a particular way. But make sure to wait for the right moment. Remember no interrupting! Also focus your explanation on the task and do not make it a personal attack on the person critiquing your work.
- After a harsh review our minds tend to get plagued by negative thoughts and insecurities. But remember to keep things in perspective. Don’t lose sight of your accomplishments. Draw confidence by reminding yourself of the successes you’ve had in your career to gain the confidence you need to approach your current project with newfound enthusiasm.
- It is easy to feel defeated by someone’s critique, but try to implement necessary changes to your work right away. Avoid procrastination. The sooner you make those changes, the more quickly you’ll be ready to move onto other projects.
- Dont hold a grudge. Staying angry or upset can have an impact on your future work. Leave the mistakes behind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task. If you’ve had a rough review, do something to make your self feel better-listen to music, go for a walk or just talk it over with a friend.
- Most importantly, don't take it personally. Nobody wants to upset you or put you down.Keep in mind that your boss is reviewing your work and not you. It neither means s/he doesn't like you, nor that you're not good enough for the job. For most bosses criticism is simply a tool to help their employees do their best.
Lastly, always remember to thank them for their time--no matter how rude they were!
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