Criticism in the workplace is not an annual affair that features only during the performing appraisal process; it is something that needs to be dealt with regularly.
In the corporate world, where each is pitted against the other in a bid to be the best, criticism is quite common. Dealing with it, irrespective of whether you are at the receiving or giving end, however, can be rather tricky.
Reflect and react
In spite of the fact that we usually find criticism unpalatable and difficult to accept you need to take it in your stride. Career Counselor advices often when someone is criticized the person gets defensive and starts pointing out the critic’s mistakes or faults hereby ending up in an altercation. This should be avoided at all cost Criticism is a part of professional life and it is best to be open about it.
Never react immediately. Take your time mull over it and then respond as you think fit. It is best not to let others see how hurt or angry you are. You may regret your impulsive action later; also it may invite more criticism.
Feedback need not always be considered negative. It should be handled in a mature fashion by identifying constructive criticism from useless criticism. Before jumping to conclusions and getting defensive, it is desirable that you analyze things for yourself to do this you may need to focus on what the critic has voiced, while turning a deaf ear to the manner in which it has been delivered. Being open to criticism however, does not necessarily mean that you have to accept all suggestions and criticism blindly. The source of criticism is important. Judge for yourself whether the speaker has sufficient knowledge about the issue and the reasons behind his criticism and act accordingly.
Criticism can help you better your performance. Shraddha Manvi, a media professional points out the positive side. I think criticism that adds value to our work should be encouraged; it opens our mind to other people’s opinions. You may not always be able to assess your work objectively; others suggestions may give you a new perspective and help you perform better.
You can of course devise ways that will work best for you. Visdesh suggests criticism in an open forum can be avoided by regularly requesting for informal feedback. The willingness to fix faults will in fact be appreciated. Your superior would tend to be less critical since he knows you are yourself conscious of your development needs and the feedback given would be more constructive in a one on one discussion.
Keep it Professional
The thumb rule is to never take it personally. As long as it is not a personal attack remember it is your work that is being analyzed and not you. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – for instance the same presentation may be seen from different perspectives. If your work draws criticism, try to see from the others’ points of view and evaluate it suitably.
Dishing it out
Giving criticism is not a cake walk either. Think before you criticize a colleague – do you need to evaluate the work of your superior peer or junior how essential is it, and how can you say it without hurting or antagonizing the listener. Pointless criticism that doesn’t add any value or disapproval expressed in an acerbic tone will definitely sour things around you. So, a meaningful opinion in a pleasant tone is the right way to go! It is best not to criticize or be too harsh in an open forum. In case you feel you need to let somebody know about his/her mistakes it is best to do it in a positive manner on a one on one basis after the meting.