Constructive criticism is hard to take, but it can help you to grow and improve. When accepting criticism, remember the following steps to take it graciously and make the best out of it.
1. Listen sincerely.
Instead of focusing on the critical aspect of the discussion and thinking that the other person is trying to belittle you, try to listen carefully to what he is talking about. Mentally note the mistakes you want to address when it is your turn to speak. Do not interrupt him except when you need to clarify his points by brief questions. It is best to show a positive facial expression and appropriate body language, and stay focused to comprehend the whole story.
2. Acknowledge the speaker’s point of view.
The speaker can feel uncomfortable when having to point out your setbacks or limitations, but he wants you to understand and face the problem to solve it at its root. Although you may disagree inwardly and are eager to react, try to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes. The art of accepting criticism lies in understanding the speaker’s purpose. The person who takes time to point out your flaw must care about you and the company, so try to respect him no matter how hard it is.
3. Don’t Be Defensive.
No one is perfect, and everyone feels embarrassed and guilty for a mistake they make. However, accepting criticism is a desirable trait in every job and relationship. Don’t try to prove you are right. It helps to realize that this is a precious chance to learn from your imperfection and become a better employee. Also, address your mistake in a humble and positive way so that people can find it easy to work with you.
4. Avoid Tension Escalation.
When we feel overly criticized, it is natural to slip into a tit-for-tat mentality and bring up past problems. This must be avoided completely for its potential to escalate tension. Instead, focus on the issue at hand and reserve any counter concerns for a later time, unless they are related to the current issue.
5. Follow up with positive action.
After accepting criticism in a gracious way, it is incumbent upon you to make necessary changes that will help matters improve. Your enthusiasm while following up with positive action will let people know you sincerely accept criticism and can put it to good use, and also enhance your professional image. You can also note down your action to improve the situations to demonstrate your willingness to follow helpful feedback if the situation is faced in the future. In addition, take initiative to ask for feedback from colleagues whose experience and expertise you trust about ways to improve your performance and avoid making the same mistake again.
Your willingness to receive advice from others is a hallmark of an open mind and cooperative spirit. Accepting criticism will not only make you a desirable employee, but also a better friend or family member.