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6 simple tips for taking criticism like a boss

When you’re starting out, criticism can be a major confidence blow. Here’s how to make it work for you.

Image: Shutterstock/Foxy burrow

WHEN YOU’RE STARTING any new job, you have to be prepared for critique. Whether it’s your attitude, punctuality, or your work itself, there’ll always be some area which you could probably work upon.

Oftentimes, there’s people who’ll take criticism better than others. However, it’s a skill that can be worked and improved upon. What better time to develop your ability to take criticism than in your first grown up job?

Practice makes perfect and when you’re new to the workforce, there’ll be plenty of criticism to take onboard. But where to begin?

1. Contain your initial reaction

So your boss has taken you aside to point out an area you’re falling down in. Your first instinct will probably be to take it personally, to get defensive or to make excuses. This is particularly easy to do if you’re the youngest or most inexperienced on the team.

It’s so important to stop these thoughts from interfering in your workplace interactions. Assume your coworker has good intentions, and trust that they probably do know better than you.

2. Listen

You might be shocked by the fact that someone has an issue with your work. However, it’s important to concentrate and really listen to what’s being criticised. This will stop you from misinterpreting the situation, or remembering the tone differently later on. If a lot of topics are being covered, maybe consider taking notes.

3. Remember the importance of feedback

Keep reminding yourself that this person is doing you a favour, that feedback is required to grow and to prosper in the workplace. Savour these opportunities for genuine conversations on where you can improve. The alternative is that you’re not informed of your shortcomings, leading to disciplinary action being taken without warning.

4. Deconstruct the criticism

Work was done incorrectly? How so? Ask as many questions as you can about where you’ve gone wrong, then find out ways you can improve. Question the advice you’re being given, and how it should be implemented. Make sure your tone conveys a genuine desire to do better, rather than outrage or confusion. Engaging in discussion will make the interaction feel more like a conversation than a scolding too.

5. Say ‘thank you’

Thank your boss for giving you this feedback. It’s very important to do so in person first, and then to follow up formally in writing. This shows you appreciate their attempts at helping you improve your performance and develop professionally, and that you aren’t holding a grudge!

6. Learn from it

Change your behaviours and truly incorporate whatever advice you were given. Point out to your boss how you’ve adjusted your work to better fulfil your role. This will show your dedication to the job and your loyalty to the brand. Stay in their good books by trying extra hard in the weeks that follow. If you need to be criticised multiple times in a short space of time, it’ll negatively impact their perception of you as an employee.

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About the author:

Jack Maguire

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