Keys to handling criticism
To handle criticism well is a difficult task and not everyone can do it. At some point in time, you have to face criticism. Successful people who perform their duties well will most likely have encountered some criticism at some point.
No one wants to feel disrespected or belittled, but failure to get constructive criticism can result in you not being able to accomplish your goals, and your won’t even know why! What matters is how you deal with criticism, to allow you to not take the feedback personally, and allow the feedback to make you and what you are working on better.
When you are being criticized it is a great opportunity for you to improve yourself. Though some people criticize things in unhealthy ways, but most of the other criticism is constructive. Those who willingly accept constructive criticism and act upon it show signs of maturity and professionalism.
The following are some of the key ways to handle criticism:
Firstly, you should determine the source of criticism. Senior managers often feel threatened by the young professionals who aim at climbing up the corporate ladder. Moreover, a co-worker may criticize you in a misguided attempt to spotlight his superior work and abilities. Clients may criticize you due to a thinly disguised product or service complaint instead of jealousy. To best handle criticism you need to know its origin. Once you know where it is coming from you can handle it accordingly.
Moreover, at times criticism is beneficial as leads to the identification of your faults. By putting your ego aside and understanding the feedback objectively you can improve yourself. You should then consider the options to correct situations or resolve problems. Many successful businessman and CEOs have made mistakes and are criticized by people. But they put their egos aside and received criticism as a means to improve themselves. The criticism helped them in assessing the situation, taking ownership, and coming back even stronger.
By adopting some of the dos and don’ts of criticism and not being defensive you can handle criticism well. You should not sound to be defensive or blame others and issue denials in the hopes that the issue will fade away. You need to stay professional as giving an explanation often sounds like an excuse or a denial.
At times you are criticized for something which was out of your control. For instance, the real target was a corporate policy entire department’s involvement in a project. Without being defensive, you should not take anything personally and deal with those things which are in your control. You don’t need to waste your energy in fighting back. For example, a waiter who unknowingly serves undercooked or overcooked food to customers should accept the criticism professionally and do everything possible to lessen the damage. Similarly, Airline check-in agents are not responsible for flight delays due to change in weather conditions. But they handle the angry and impatient passengers well to create a positive impression.
To accept critical comments of a particular nature is a difficult task. But successful people tend to develop the ability to dismiss or deflect criticism that is not about their professional abilities while embracing the criticism that will help them grow.