October 07, 2016 | 5 min read
6 Steps To Welcoming Constructive Criticism In The Workplace


Throughout your career, you may occasionally receive constructive criticism that disappoints you.  While it’s not always fun to hear that you’ve done something wrong, it can be the best way to grow and advance in your career.  At a time when advancement opportunities are a top priority, particularly for millennials, it is important to look for ways to improve and get ahead.  When you’re seeking a promotion or a raise, listening to critiques from your superiors and enhancing your current skill set is crucial.  Without notes on your performance, you may never know if you’ve done something incorrectly, which can hinder your ability to prove yourself to your supervisors.  However, if you have a difficult time hearing a negative opinion about yourself, this can be problematic and potentially stunt your growth in the workplace.  If you find yourself in this position, consider the following steps in order to eventually embrace constructive feedback in the workplace.

Separate personal from professional

When you’re told that you’ve made a mistake, it can be easy to get upset and let your brain go into overdrive.  While that might be your natural response, it’s important to look at this criticism without viewing it through the lens of a personal attack.  While it’s difficult to do, considering feedback without emotion can assist you in sorting through how you can improve.  If this is challenging for you, evaluate the professional implications of your mistake or perhaps the pressure on your supervisor.  By stepping into their shoes, you may be able to see their reasoning more clearly and think about it less as a personal assessment and more as simply getting the job done well.

Analyze carefully

When you receive feedback, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind the criticism as well as the takeaway you should get from it.  Once again, by stepping into the shoes of your supervisor, you can assess the risk at hand and the implications of any mistake made.  Additionally, analyzing these comments may involve reading between the lines.  By calmly considering the bigger picture, you can better decide how to take the feedback given and decide on the solutions that will help fix the issue.

Ask questions

If you’ve analyzed the notes given to you and you still can’t figure out the issue, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  While it may seem a little daunting, you can frame your question in the way that shows you are simply looking for clarification.  Additionally, you can emphasize that you want to improve and you don’t want to make the same mistake again.  Through this explanation, your supervisor should be glad to assist and help you figure out how to clear up your confusion or move forward.

Set goals to improve

Once you clearly understand what went wrong, be sure to set goals to improve for the next time.  Whether this means a shift in strategy or setting an extra calendar alert, there is always something you can do to prevent the same error from happening.  Without taking concrete steps, it is more likely that you may repeat the mistake, which would reflect very poorly on your performance.  Remember that taking constructive criticism not only requires listening and analysis, but taking actual steps toward a change.

Ask for more constructive criticism

After you address how you can improve your performance, you can probably recognize the difference in the results.  Hopefully, you can see that you’ve created a smoother operation and perhaps your supervisor is more pleased.  While it’s easy to feel as though you’ve completed the process, be sure to seek out criticism whenever possible.  While it may sound self-defeating at first, consider how much you’ve improved in your job through one instance of taking an evaluation seriously and adjusting to meet the needs of your coworkers.  The more often you get feedback, the more often you can advance.  After a while, you will feel less taken aback when someone gives you notes, and you may even learn to welcome criticism because you want to get better at your job.

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