No one likes being criticized. But constructive criticism at work can be extremely helpful—it can give you fresh perspective on your work and perhaps highlight a few areas in which you can reexamine your methods and modify your approach. If you take constructive criticism effectively (read: not personally or emotionally) and reflect on it, you can definitely improve the overall quality of your work.
Here are six strategies to best handle constructive criticism at work:
- Moderate your initial reaction
Pause before you react. Take a moment to breathe, stay calm and avoid getting defensive. The results of the Sensitivity to Criticism Test showed that people who are “defensive about criticism are less happy with their job, [and] have low performance ratings and low self-esteem.” Wait a few seconds to collect yourself and your thoughts before you respond.
- Listen carefully
Listen carefully to the feedback and show that you’ve acknowledged it. One good technique is to repeat what the person said. It shows that you are listening and also will help you remember the feedback in the future.
- Ask questions
Constructive criticism can be extremely beneficial to your work performance and to your career. Ask questions to be sure that you completely understand the situation, the feedback and what you need to do to improve in the future.
- Say thank you
Giving feedback isn’t easy. Thank the person for taking the time to give you feedback and the opportunity to improve based upon it.
- Follow up
If the constructive criticism concerns a big issue, you may want to schedule time to follow up. This will give you a chance to find out if your performance has improved.
- Take time to reflect
Don’t blow the feedback out of proportion. Try your very best not to take it personally! One of the biggest mistakes I repeatedly made earlier in my career was taking things personally. You’ll be much better off if you listen to feedback objectively and realize that it’s not a reflection on what the person thinks of you as a person, but rather a thoughtful appraisal of your work.
Everyone makes mistakes—your boss does, too. Your career will be better off if you view constructive criticism as a positive. It gives you the opportunity to improve and be the best you can be!
This post is by me and originally appeared on Career Contessa. Image via Cupcakes and Cashmere.