Handling Criticism Effectively by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Nobody likes to be criticized. It is normal to feel defensive when receiving feedback that is negative. However, for most of us, negative feedback is bound to come, at least once in a while. Here are some tips to help you not only handle negative feedback, but benefit from it.
1. Consider the source. The first thing you should do is consider the source of your criticism. Is the person criticizing you doing so for your benefit, or is there some jealousy or axe to grind? Does the person criticizing you have power over you? Thinking through the other person’s motive is important in determining how much credence you should lend to the criticism. For example, if the criticism comes from your spouse, whom you love and trust, you are likely to want to repair whatever flaw is being pointed out. If the criticism comes from your boss, you may want to make changes, even if you believe the criticism is unfair, in order to keep your job in good standing.
2. Look at the criticism objectively. It can be very difficult to look at criticism objectively. However, looking for the true merit in negative comments is the only way to learn from them. If you can get past any offense you may have taken in the comment made, you may find a way to improve yourself.
3. Make changes as needed. When you recognize merit in criticism, use it to improve yourself. When you are able to make positive changes based on constructive criticism, you’ll find that you are making constant improvement in yourself professionally and personally. This helps you to grow and achieve more and more goals.
It takes resilience to put negative criticism to good use. However, you’ll find that the more you look at criticism objectively to make positive changes in your life, the more you’ll grow as a professional. And, the more you can see how criticism can improve you as a human being, the more willing you’ll be to listen to comments, even if these seem less than complimentary.