Constructive criticism is an inevitable part of professional life. Most of us don’t like to hear any criticism from anyone — whether it’s about doing something wrong or improving ourselves. But one of the most effective ways to grow both personally and professionally is to learn to accept constructive criticism. Although, this is far easier said than done.
If you’re a person who doesn’t like people criticizing you – be it your boss, colleagues, and friends, then constructive criticism might hurt you. But, constructive criticism is a great way of providing feedback through specific and actionable suggestions. All in all, constructive criticism is clear, to the point, and easy to put into action. Therefore, constructive criticism can be extremely helpful.
There are seven strategies to handle constructive criticism in the best way possible:
Keeping an open mind allows you to properly engage yourself in the process. Remember that everyone has an opinion, and making it clear that you value constructive criticism will come in handy. This process will help you to attract meaningful feedback, enabling you to grow as a successful person.
Pause before you react. Receiving negative feedback sometimes can be emotionally difficult to handle, but take a moment to breathe, stay calm and avoid getting defensive. The best way is to not react at all. Visualise what’s going to happen if you react, that’s why it is important you stay calm and polite.
It is easy to immediately become defensive when hearing constructive criticism, but always remember, listen to understand and not to respond. Allow the person to share their complete thoughts without interruption, and only when they are done, repeat what you hear. Also, don’t take their constructive criticism personally or as an insult. Remember and consider that they are just sharing their experience and insights with you. So, accept it graciously.
Feedback is essential for the growth of a person. If you don’t have feedback, you will never know how to improve. Therefore, always keep in mind how beneficial feedback is. It can really make you and your personality stronger. Constructive feedback at your workplace requires your deep consideration, so make sure you understand the feedback.
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Now, it’s time to process the feedback. When a person is done sharing their feedback, ask questions to clarify anything you didn’t understand or would like more details on. While doing that, avoid engaging in a debate. Instead, ask questions to get to the root of the actual issue being raised and possible solutions for addressing them. And please, don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand what the person is saying.
In the end, thank the person for giving you constructive feedback. This will help them understand that you are acknowledging the effort your colleagues took to evaluate and share his/her thoughts with you.
If it was relevant for you, request a follow-up, so that the person who gave you constructive feedback can see the changes you have made. Here, you can close the conversation and move on.
So, this is how you can handle constructive criticism and can learn about your weaknesses. Also, remember that without it, you can’t improve your work.