…..It’s not always easy to be on the receiving end of it, but criticism is a vital part of any person’s development at work. Without it, it would be very difficult for one to know for certain how well they are performing at any given task or responsibility. Because of its importance in the workplace, employees must learn how to handle criticism and make it work for them instead of being afraid of it or trying to avoid it completely. If you need a little convincing – following are five steps to making criticism work for you.

  1. Realize That Criticism Can Help You Get Better At What You Do – If nobody stops to tell you how you can do better at something, then how will you ever learn? Feedback is the only way. Without it, improvement would be very hard to come by. Instead of receiving criticism negatively, realize that it provides an opportunity for you to learn where and how you can perform better while at work. Those criticizing you are doing you a favor by telling you exactly what you need to do to shape up – instead of leaving you unaware of your mistakes. Understanding this can put things into perspective and turn your fear of criticism into a healthy yearning for learning.
  1. Take Everything In & Process Before Responding – Most people make the mistake of responding immediately before thinking things through. Make it a habit to first take time out to digest and process everything before even attempting to respond to criticism. Whatever you do, never let your emotions take the wheel – consider everything carefully, see if there is anything you can do to improve, then come up with a professional response. 
  1. Ask Questions Focused On Doing Better – Upon understanding the criticism against you, take an interest in finding a way to improve yourself. Let people know how you feel, but at the same time try to get them to explain to you how they want you to perform in terms that you understand. Maybe they could show an example of what they want or perhaps suggest directly what changes they want to see. The more you understand what they want, the higher the chances you will have of improving. 
  1. Stay Calm & Never Display Defensive Behavior – When under the perception of being under attack, some humans react by losing control and becoming defensive. This is the worst way to react, regardless of how unfair you perceive things to be. If people in your company start becoming more worried about your emotional outbursts rather than your workplace performance, then you may find yourself being suddenly replaced by someone they can approach with feedback. Always remember to never take criticism personally because feedback is meant to help, not harm. Be calm, always, and keep an open mind.
  1. Discuss Feedback With Those You Trust – Discussing criticism with a trusted friend, family member, or mentor can help provide insight from others and shed light on things you may not have realized. No matter whether they agree or disagree with the feedback, it is a good idea to get external opinions on what others think would be your best course of action. 

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