April 19, 2012

embracing criticism at work

Oh, how we all know the feeling of receiving criticism. Not my favorite thing, but I have learned that being open to criticism can really give your career a boost. Showing that you are open to the suggestions of others sends the message that you know you aren't perfect, creating the space for honest feedback and sincere conversations.

So here are a few do's and don'ts to help you when receiving criticism at work (especially from your manager):

DON'T get defensive. It's OK to disagree with what is being said about you or your performance, but when you kick into defense mode automatically it will send the message that you are not interested in his opinion and that you are not willing to reflect on your shortcomings. You don't want to come across as immature.

DO thank them for their opinion. "I didn't realise that I was coming across that way, thanks for telling me. My thinking in that situation was (explain your perspective)"

DON'T break down or explode. Big emotional reactions to work-related discussions are never a good idea. Work-related criticism is seldom personal, so try not to react emotionally.

DO listen to the facts and respond accordingly. "I see what you mean. My understanding of the assignment was (explain how you interpreted it), so I must have made the wrong assumptions. It wasn't my intention to (whatever you did wrong), so I will rectify it as soon as possible."

DON'T shrug it off without discussing the details. If your manager has come to you with comments regarding your performance, responding with "Fine!" doesn't show much respect.

DO investigate some of the details and show that you are willing to take action. Discussions like these create ideal opportunities for you and your boss to understand each other better, so try to make use of it

I am due for a performance appraisal myself, so I will definitely be using some of my own tips. I've been at my new job for just over a month, so I am expecting a good dose of constructive criticism. On the flipside, receiving feedback this early in my new position gives met the opportunity to get things right from the start. So despite the nerves, I am actually looking forward to it!

What are your tips for keeping your cool when receiving criticism!?

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