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Take Criticism Positively!

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Who likes to be criticized? By and large, people do not like to be criticized as it is damaging to their self-esteem.

Whether criticism is in the form of a comment, look, sigh or even a spell of silence, it is a means to evaluate the pros and cons of the action or work of an individual or a thing from another person’s viewpoint. One can have a negative viewpoint towards an individual’s work, or to an individual or to inanimate or animate objects. Criticism takes several forms, such as: husband condemning wife’s cooking, a teacher criticizes his student for incomplete homework, a film critic disapproving of a new film or an employer criticizing his employee for doing a shoddy job.

Negative criticism is disappointing and frustrating to the extent of an individual not putting his best effort in future. There is a dip in one’s enthusiasm and confidence levels to a great extent. If taken in good spirit, it helps the person correct his or her mistakes, learn new things and move ahead in life.

Here are some ways how you can take criticism positively:

When someone criticizes you, one’s first reaction is always to be defensive or rant. Instead, delay your immediate reaction to the action and contemplate on what was said. Count till 10 and figure out how to react.

If you receive an e-mail criticizing your work, reply after you have cooled down. If the criticism is verbose, walk away from the person saying, “We will discuss this later.” Having negative thoughts and views lead to resentment between the criticizer and criticized.

Instead of reacting harshly, view and understand the value of criticism. Take it as a recommendation or suggestion and increase your chance for improvement. Think of what was said, strengthen and improve your faults and emerge as a winner next time around. The next time adds to your knowledge and experience, lets you set a benchmark for yourself and rise high in the opinion of people. Learn to differentiate between constructive and non-constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is an effective learning tool.

Have confidence in yourself. If your work is not up to the mark, your boss could pass a comment. Instead of taking it personally, ask how you can correct your mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Successful people make more mistakes as they believe in the motto, ‘Keep trying until you succeed’, unlike unproductive people who quit after a failure or two.

When criticized, it is best to remain cool and calm, instead of reacting with anger and ranting. Rise above the situation without responding in a child-like manner with barbs and accusations. A poised demeanor will portray you in a different light. You will see a vast change in people’s attitude towards you and your self-confidence will increase as you are not seen to stoop to another person’s level.

Criticism is a good way to improve. Strive for the best possible changes to banish negative criticism in your personal and professional lives. Avoid repeating mistakes that provoke people to criticize you. Recognize your mistakes, correct them and try not to repeat them next time.

Many people have the habit of criticizing. If they do not matter to you, it is best to ignore them and continue doing the work.

At the end of it, thank the critic, despite the critic being rude, harsh or abusive, irrespective of whether the person accepts it or not. Most unexpected at the time of criticism, thanking is the way of winning over the person.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Parul

    In my opinion very few people in our society can stand criticism. Criticism can take different shapes depending upon the various factors out of which two are most important – the time of criticism and the place of criticism. As they say that right things should be done at the right time same holds true in this case also. Similarly the place of criticism also matters a lot as it’s well said that Reprimand should always be in solitude where as Appraise in public.
    Moreover, personally I feel that Criticism should not be the word instead Feedback should be there. As that would encourage a person and would help him/her to take it positively and improve upon his weaknesses after all who doesn’t have one.

  • John Papathanassiou

    This is an excellent topic. In my opinion and experience, criticism in the professional area should always be positive. In almost all cases, negative criticism does not help resolve the potential problem at hand. However, if you going to criticize someone, you make sure that you have an imminent solution available to the problem or it does not resolve anything.

    As a professional you must learn to recognize positive and negative criticism and create a thick skin. Listening and patience will be your biggest advantages and tools while being criticize. If the leadership provides no immediate solution to the problem, calmly ask questions in best resolving the issue(s) at hand.

    If criticism is continuous, I recommend that you move to another department or working place. All the money in the world is not worth the constant mental hassle.

  • Monica

    First off, the word criticism, for most people, has negative connotations. I prefer the word feedback. Feedback in a employee-manager environment, in many cases, is a reflection of the fact that one person has more knowledge, skills or experience than the other. This would not be a reflection of an individual not putting his best foot forward, rather, it’s the only foot he’s got. He may not have the wisdom that many years of experience often brings. So long as the manager (or the employee for that matter) delivers the feedback with a genuine display of wanting to help the other person to learn and grow and always maintains that person’s self esteem, then feedback should always be positive. When you add egos and a lack of skill in delivering feedback, this is when relationships can break down.

  • Kelly Plamp

    I notice that the harshest managers say “I need to give you some feedback”. This does not fool the worker at all: he knows feedback is just another word for criticism, and also adds a level of deceit to the situation that can make it even more difficult for the receiver to accept the message. One doesn’t actually use the word
    “cricize” when criticizing, so using the word “feedback” when criticizing merely rubs salt into the wound.

    When I trust the person at work who is criticizing, I sincerely appreciate their ideas for improvement and carry them out. When I don’t trust the person (i.e., I suspect the person has an ulterior or political motive to avoid accepting my work as it stands), I admit I do bristle. I suspect because of this, at times I miss an opportunity to improve if my suspicions are not true. Reading all of these comments, I will do some work on that issue.

    To me, the key to criticism, whether I’m giving it or receiving it, is the intention of the person giving it. As it’s not possible to always be sure of that intention, criticism is a touchy topic.

    A question for everyone: what do you think are examples of positive criticism and negative criticism? How does your critical style change between providing the information to a colleague vs. a subordinate?

    Looking forward to responses!
    Kelly

  • Sharpening the Sword is a critical step to your growth and long term success. Being open to constructive feedback, while difficult, is one way to be able to understand your opportunities. It’s difficult but we all need feedback.

  • Kausik

    Human ego and vanity comes into the way to accept positive criticism, so whoever gives feedback need to be cognizant about this. People look at this often as an attack to their self image and hence builds a coccon to drive away any feedback.
    However if one keeps in mind that our environment (be it business, scholstic or social …) iis constantly changing and to enhance our adaptability it is imperative to get feedback and criticisms as effective means to be contemporary otherwise we would be left behind by time to become defunct. However as a feedback receiver one has to build filter to acknowledge which criticisms or feedback would be apt and whichone need rejection – this comes with experience and humility.