Nobody is perfect. No matter how hard you work or how hard you try to do the right thing, there will be days when it feels your hard work isn’t appreciated, and even more discouraging — you are criticized for your efforts. Facing criticism in the workplace is never pleasant, but how you deal with it says a lot about your work ethic and professionalism.
Don’t be too quick to assume criticism from your boss is a knock on you or that it is meant to be hurtful. In many cases, criticism is meant to be constructive and to help you improve. Negative feedback is sometimes the only thing that can grab one’s attention. It is essential in the workplace because it helps to guard against complacency.
You can face criticism positively when you take time to think through the reaction you want to have next time you’re on the receiving end of negative feedback. Here are a few tips from your Houston staffing agency.
Getting defensive or losing your cool is an unprofessional response to criticism at work. Getting angry can even hurt the future of your professional career. Find an outlet for your frustration or anger outside the workplace, be it a spouse or friend (not a coworker), exercise, or just taking time to breathe. Often, the most upsetting thing about criticism isn’t what’s being said, but how it is delivered. Focus on the criticism itself and not the delivery.
Listen to what’s being said. Listen carefully to every word. Is it based on fact or opinion? Consider the intent and motive of the individual giving you feedback. Don’t respond in the moment, but acknowledge what’s been said and ask for clarification if needed, or respond with a statement like “What I’m hearing you say is…”
Don’t get defensive.
Putting up your defenses only raises the tension in a moment like this. Arguing may only end up proving the critic’s points. Responding defensively sends the message that you cannot be approached with practical or constructive criticism, and if you don’t receive feedback, you won’t improve. Remember, the negative feedback is not an individual attack. To demonstrate cooperativeness even if you don’t agree, ask open-ended questions like “I appreciate the feedback. How could I have handled it differently?”
Although it is often our first response, saying “I’m sorry,” when you receive criticism is really just a display of your lack of confidence. Unless the situation absolutely calls for it, skip the apology and instead respond with a more confident response such as “I understand. I will make that change.”
Ask for some time.
Don’t respond in the heat of the moment. Instead, ask for some time to consider the feedback. Doing so will help diffuse the situation and lets the other person know that you consider what they are saying important enough to spend some time thinking about it. Process what’s been said. Was it fair and accurate? Is it useful? Can it help you improve? After you’ve taken some time, formulate a professional response.
If you’ve taken some time to process and still feel the criticism was unfair or inaccurate, set up a quick meeting with your boss to discuss it. Do not use this as a time to retaliate, but rather to clarify and negotiate, if needed. Outline your case with key points and ask questions to help you better understand the intent of the criticism.
Everyone will face criticism at one point or another. Without it, we’d never improve ourselves or achieve our goals. Remember that in most cases, someone taking the time to offer you constructive feedback is doing so because they are invested in you and they want to see your success.
To learn more about how your Houston staffing agency can help you with your job search, contact Staff Force today.