Career Advice With Christie Lohr – How to Respond to Criticism

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One of the hardest things to hear is criticism, and that’s not necessarily something that changes over time. Whether it’s criticism towards an idea or an action, the difficulty comes with finding out the discrepancy between what others perceive of what you do or deliver, and how you perceive it all yourself. If you think that your solution to a problem will solve all, while the rest of your team would beg to differ, your confidence would certainly take a hit (even if you don’t want to admit it). However, when it comes to personal growth, Christie argues that learning to accept criticism where it counts is a fundamental professional and personal skill to develop.


Christie: When I was starting out in my professional career, taking criticism from my higher ups was definitely difficult. I feel that we were probably all at our most arrogant state during the start of our careers, even if we would like to argue otherwise. After all, we hadn’t been knocked down by life, management, and peers quite as much at that point, and any criticism we may have received prior to our first real job certainly didn’t hold the same amount of weight. Back when I took on my first managerial role at 18, I was convinced that I was the best around, even though I was still green. While I proved myself enough to have been promoted to a position in management to begin with, I hadn’t yet paid my dues or really done anything to earn the respect of my employees. I simply assumed that it was a given that came with the role. Boy was I wrong. When my supervisor at the time gave me feedback regarding my performance, I was stung. The problem was, I needed to learn to view myself from their perspective, and through an objective lens at that. If your natural instinct is to become defensive, don’t. Avoid the urge! In fact, force yourself to listen for once so you can actually hear what your peers have to say. No criticism is given with the purpose of attacking you as an individual, and that’s the first thing you have to recognize. Every piece of feedback given on the job is meant to help you improve. Most people don’t want to see you fail, especially your higher ups. They hired and/ or promoted you for a reason! Forget making excuses and playing the role of the victim. Nobody can respect an individual who doesn’t want to own up to their mistakes.


If you do have a valid response to any criticism you receive, then reply with your rationale and facts, not opinions. State everything clearly and try to rein your emotions in. The last thing you want is to say something in the spur of the moment that you’ll regret later on. I’d like to stress again how important listening is. We have a personal monologue running in our heads 24/7, so taking that 5 or 10 minutes of mental silence to truly absorb feedback from others is a necessary habit to get into.


Photo by Laura McIntosh


By: Anna Zhao

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