How to Handle Workplace Criticism Like A Professional

BY Jessica Helinski
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Criticism can be a tough pill to swallow, especially in the workplace. Additionally, salespeople tend to be confident folks for whom negative feedback can be particularly tough to hear. But, it’s unrealistic to think that everything you do will be perfect and you’ll do your job without any mistakes. In most cases, criticism is NOT a personal assault, and it’s up to you to see the silver lining. An article from MyDomaine​.com shares tips on how to handle criticism professionally–without any embarrassing meltdowns or inappropriate arguments:

  • Remember that criticism will help you improve. Criticism serves as a way to help you grow professionally, and it can be a vital tool to help you down your career path. Plus, you want to do your best in your position, right? You can’t assume that you will do it perfectly on your own!
  • Never get defensive. While it’s completely natural to want to defend yourself when faced with criticism, immediately getting defensive and indignant is not the appropriate behavior. Reacting this way only shows your leaders and co-​workers that you cannot handle feedback professionally. “If co-​workers and managers can’t approach you with practical criticism for fear of an emotional outburst, then you won’t improve, and that’s not good,” writes Strebe.
  • Process first, then respond. Criticism out of the blue can rattle anyone–even those who typically handle negative feedback well. Before responding, it’s perfectly appropriate to take time to digest what was said: Was it fair? Is it helpful? How can/​will you use it? By mulling it over first and responding second, you improve your chances of giving a professional response rather than an emotional one.

Remember, it’s tough for most people to take criticism in stride–especially when it’s in the workplace. Criticism is important and you should recognize that reacting unprofessionally to feedback can do some damage to your credibility. Coworkers and leaders need to be able to discuss issues with you without fear of an emotional meltdown or other repercussions. Consider these tips (along with the others in the article) to see the bright side of criticism and how it can actually help you thrive!