How to Deal With Criticism in the Workplace

Respond to criticism without resorting to personal attacks and unprofessional behavior.

Respond to criticism without resorting to personal attacks and unprofessional behavior.

Whether it’s a performance review with the boss or a tete-a-tete with a co-worker, maintain your cool when receiving criticism at work. Although it is often tough to hear, criticism can actually help your chances in the workplace. By responding and acting upon criticism in a mature, professional manner, you may see your productivity and opportunities for advancement greatly improve.

Listen to your co-worker’s criticism without interrupting. Active listening will help you respond directly to the points your co-worker is raising, and also lessens the chances of getting into an argument.

Respond to criticism objectively and calmly, without raising your voice. While the feedback you're receiving may feel like a personal attack, keep in mind that your co-worker is simply criticizing your work, not your personality. Do deep breathing exercises, which may help alleviate any stress you're feeling.

Paraphrase your co-worker’s criticism to demonstrate that you not only listened to what she said, but understand it as well. Ask follow-up questions if any part of the criticism is vague to ensure that you fully comprehend the situation.

Determine if some of the criticism is accurate, and take ownership of your behavior if so. If you feel the criticism is unfair, ask your co-worker to provide details that speak to a current, specific instance.

Ask for feedback on how you can improve. This shows that you have an open mind to criticism and welcome opportunities to improve your work and relationship with co-workers.

Thank your co-worker for bringing the criticism to your attention, and be sincere. Request a follow-up meeting to track your progress and improvement, which shows that you are committed to resolving your issues.

 

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Pamela Henman has been writing marketing- and advertising-related articles since 2006. Previously, she covered arts and entertainment news for "AUC Magazine," "The Signal" and "The Urbanite." She received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Georgia State University.

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