constructive criticism

Here’s how you can take constructive criticism in your stride to achieve success

Constructive criticism is not a personal attack but an opportunity to re-evaluate your work, correct your mistakes, and improve.

If you are chasing success and growth, criticism is inevitable. You can’t escape it, whether you are a rookie or an expert in your field. How you respond to it can determine whether you will fall or rise as a winner. History has witnessed countless people reaching the heights of success despite facing disapproval. Vincent van Gogh, The Beatles, Stephen King, Walt Disney–the list goes on. These famous personalities faced criticism throughout their lives but they embraced it, learned from it, and became pioneers in their respective fields. However, not everyone can take criticism constructively. Some become defensive while others respond to it aggressively. Such people mistake criticism for rejection, which, in turn, fuels their anger, leading to unwanted arguments and outbursts. They don’t realise that constructive criticism is not a personal attack but an opportunity in disguise to re-evaluate your work, correct your mistakes, and improve.

Yes, sometimes even constructive criticism can feel like a slap in your face but in reality, it’s a hand on your shoulder that guides you when you go wrong. You can’t expect praises and a pat on the back all the time. For example, at work when you receive strong feedback from your boss, instead of giving a rude, knee-jerk response, listen calmly and implement it productively, which will benefit you in the long run.

Let’s take a closer look at how to embrace constructive criticism for your growth and success.

Keep an open mind

When you receive constructive criticism for your work, keep an open mind. Instead of losing your cool, re-examine your work from your critic’s point of view. The truth is, you can’t always be a better judge of your work. For example, at a workplace, managers and other seniors play a key role in assessing employees’ work, as their experience enables them to get the best out of the team. With their feedback, they can help you find mistakes that you otherwise couldn’t, and explain how you can fix them to deliver your tasks seamlessly and productively. When a senior at work gives you constructive criticism, don’t take their words personally or crib about it. Instead, learn from their experience to get ahead in your career.

Silence the inner critic and listen to others

Half of your problems can disappear if you just listen to others. And listening means paying attention to the speaker and not your inner voice that constantly judges other people. Oftentimes at work, when we receive constructive criticism, our thoughts run amok, making us feel angry and displeased. And while trying to fight those thoughts, we miss the key points in the feedback that was meant to benefit us.

Is there a way to avoid this? If you want to take constructive criticism in your stride, the most important aspect is to silence the inner critic and listen with a calm mind. This will allow you to see the mistakes that you may be oblivious of or don’t want to accept. Once you open your mind to receiving feedback from experienced people, such as your manager at work, it will broaden your horizons and offer you precious insights on how you can improve and achieve success.

Say thank you

Show gratitude to the person who is giving you the feedback, even if it may not be an easy thing to do. In such moments, remind yourself that the person only wants to see you succeed. They have no malign intent to see you fail. That’s what many people think when they receive criticism instead of praise. But this is not how winners respond. They say ‘thank you’ to those who offer constructive criticism because they know that not everyone will take interest in their growth and find the time to review their work.

Get clarity

Constructive criticism is a two-way street. On one hand, you take the feedback positively, and on the other hand, you ask questions when you need clarity. That’s how criticism helps you improve and grow. But asking questions doesn’t mean that you should get into a fierce debate. You need to be professional in your conduct. Start with acknowledging your mistake and ask for clarification professionally. For instance, once you have received feedback from your boss, you can say, “Thank you for sharing your views. Can you tell me how can I resolve this mistake?” or “Is there another way I can do this?”

Stop being defensive

Playing defensive doesn’t work when your tasks are reviewed and criticised. It will only make you look bad in front of your seniors. It can also heat the conversation, which can lead to an unwanted argument. Instead, this could be your chance to come out as a mature, seasoned professional who is not afraid of criticism, and whose primary goal is to grow. So when you receive strong feedback, refrain from making excuses. Moreover, it’s impolite to interrupt the person who is giving you the feedback. Listen to them carefully and politely ask questions, if you have any. This attitude will do wonders for your career.




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