Combatting Criticism in the Workplace

Combatting Criticism in the Workplace - Style Nine to Five

No one enjoys receiving criticism in the workplace, no matter how helpful it may be. When you first hear criticism of your abilities, it’s far too easy to be tempted by insecurity – to belittle yourself and focus on the one flaw you’re now faced with.

But receiving constructive criticism is important to your growth as someone in the workforce – without criticism, you won’t know what skills of yours still need sharpening. Clearly, learning to embrace workplace criticism will only benefit you in your career journey. That said, how do you restructure your brain to see criticism as helpful?

Evaluate the Criticism

Before we get too deep into this one, make sure to identify whether what you’re dealing with is valid, helpful criticism or a sign of a toxic workplace. There’s a huge difference between feeling bad about feedback that you needed to hear and feeling bad because you’re treated poorly by your employers, and the latter is not a situation you need to tolerate.

Even if the criticism is intended to be helpful, there’s room to agree to disagree. Obviously, if you’re being told to do something that will help the workplace or your own job run smoother – for instance, being better about meeting deadlines – but if you feel the criticism is unfair or unnecessary, you don’t need to necessarily take it to heart. Be confident in your own abilities and autonomy.

Criticism is a Good Thing!

It’s always hard to hear that you aren’t performing as well as you could be, and it’s understandable and okay to feel hurt. But without criticism, you wouldn’t be able to grow and become the best version of your workplace self. Your next step when receiving criticism is to alter the way that you think about it.

Often, people view criticism as a negative: something that puts them down, reminds them of their imperfections. We should be seeing criticism as a positive – a teaching moment, something that’ll help you blossom into a better person and employee. If you realize that the criticism you receive from your employer is valid and constructive, get excited about it – it gives you the opportunity to improve yourself and prove your employer that you can overcome obstacles and strengthen your professional skills.

After all, constructive criticism usually has good intentions behind it: the person who offers it is only ever doing so because they’d like to help you flourish.

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself

Along with seeing criticism as a good thing, remember that receiving criticism doesn’t make you a bad employee. No one on earth is a perfect person – everyone always has room to grow and better themselves. One failure does not negate all the successes that you’ve had at your workplace. It doesn’t lessen your value as an employee or yourself as a person. After all, you were hired for a reason: you’re still the best person for the job. The fact that your boss gave you criticism at all means that they see the potential in you to grow and be better, and they’d like to see you become your ideal self.

Watch Yourself Grow!

Try and take the criticism to heart and see how your job improves or how it makes you feel. Your confidence will only skyrocket from proving to yourself and your employer that you’re capable of being better, and you’ll be able to move to future workplaces with more skills in your arsenal.

You can also always ask your boss how you’re doing in the area that they offered the initial criticism in, and if there’s anything further you can do to improve yourself.

Remember that there’s always room to grow, and you’re more than capable of surpassing your own expectations.

Still experiencing some uncertainty about your career? Try booking a Virtual Career Meeting with Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr!

Emily Morrison is a freelance writer and media professional with passions for film and storytelling.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock