How to handle professional criticism

picture of boss yelling at employee
Originally from Eremedia.com.

Ya know, it amazes me that we take criticism so hard at work. (And by we, I mean young professionals.) Most of us openly complain about it, which is where the “selfish and entitled” stereotype stems from. Others just suck it up and move on. And then there’s people like me — the ones who take it extremely personal, eventually over-correcting to make certain they don’t end up in that situation again.

From what I’ve observed through the years, I think we get upset because we spend so much time with so many resources trying to perfect our craft. And when we feel like someone is trying to belittle the very thing we’ve worked so hard on, we immediately think, “Oh, well they just don’t understand how the world works now.”

Well today, I’m here to tell you that not everyone has it out for you. Some of your colleagues genuinely want to help you. And you can’t go around brushing off your team’s feedback just because “you’re the expert” or “you have a job there, so you must know what you’re doing.” Don’t be so dismissive; be open to people’s suggestions. And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself.

For those who can’t deal with criticism…
Remember this quote by Peter Marshall:

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”

Don’t make excuses and don’t get defensive. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. Don’t let people’s words stop you from doing what you do best. Listen to what people are actually trying to tell you and don’t assume the worst. You were chosen for that position because you were the only one who fit a set of criteria required for your job. If anyone can handle your position, you can. Be open to people’s ideas, and don’t be afraid to make changes.

For those who CAN deal with criticism…
That’s great! However, make sure you don’t become anyone’s doormat either. You were put in that position because of your expertise. If you’re given a suggestion at work that you don’t quite agree with, argue your point and follow your mind. Don’t let just anyone make changes to your work all the time because then your work will never be authentic. It’ll just be a jumbled mess of what everyone else THINKS is right.

The art to handling professional criticism is balance. Find that midpoint where you can be open to others’ ideas, but still maintain a sense of pride in your work. How do you feel about criticism in the workplace? Should you take other ideas into consideration if they’re not coming from your boss? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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2 Replies to “How to handle professional criticism”

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