Learn the art of accepting criticism at work

Your finished work with enthusiasm and great zeal, and now your boss/manager are listing all sorts of things you need to improve upon. Don't get disheartened, positive criticism is a key part of any job. This article will help you understand how to accept constructive criticism and do your word well.


No one is perfect in this World. You will always have room to improve, no matter what you are doing, and the best way to improve is to take constructive criticism from people who have the skills. The first thing you need to do is determine whether or not the person delivering the criticism is important to you. It is valuable for you or not.

What is criticism?

Criticism is important for our personal and professional improvement. It is the best way to find out our weaknesses. After all, we all are human, it is really hard to digest the bad stuff about ourselves. It is also hard to not take it personally. Sometimes it can be emotionally challenging. Winston Churchill once said, "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."

Types of criticism

There are two types of criticism - constructive and destructive. Learning the differences between these two can help you deal with any criticism.

Destructive and Constructive Criticism

When your manager/coworker are giving destructive criticism, it can hurt your self-esteem, confidence and pride. It is sometimes just thoughtlessness by them, but it can lead to anger or aggression.
On the other hand, constructive criticism is designed to point out your mistakes without hart your confidence, it also shows you where and how improvements can be made. It should be treated as useful feedback that can help you improve rather than put you down.

Steps to follow

  1. No one is perfect

    Accept the truth that you will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes and avoid repeating them. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you are fooling yourself

  2. Do not take it so personally

    Attitude take a vital role and even a good mood will give you the clarity of mind to accept criticism better. If your co-worker or manager has criticism for you, remind yourself that it does not mean he/she does not like you, or that you are not good enough for the job. It is because they are trying to ensure that you can do the best work possible.

  3. Check your work again

    After you have done your work, and before you submit it, be sure you have double checked your code carefully. This can help you to avoid silly mistakes and ensure that your boss won't have to bother about minor problems

  4. Listen carefully

    If you try to ignore critical comments, you are harassed to repeat the same mistakes. Take a note to remind yourself how to solve the issue. This is the most difficult step to follow

  5. Evaluate and analyze what you have heard

    It takes time to process the information, determine if it's a valid criticism and decide what you will do to solve the problem or correct the approach

  6. Agree with the positive part of the criticism

    When faced with criticism, most people focus on the negative feedback only that may not be true and avoid the rest. This approach does not solve any problems, and you do not learn anything. When you agree with the criticism, you become ready for learning. You do not have to agree with every point. If the criticism is for the whole team, then the focus can become how you will work together to solve a problem

  7. Ask yourself what can you learn

    Be positive about the constructive criticism. Think about what can you learn from the criticism that will help to improve in near future

  8. Do not stay upset/angry

    Do not keep yourself upset or angry about criticism can affect your relation with others and your future work too. Put it out of your mind and keep focused on doing the best possible on the next task

  9. Be patient, anything that happens should have some reason

    If you are going through some bad phase, remember, something much better will be stored for you. All the hard work or patience must be rewarded

  10. Others may see your mistakes that you don't

    If you don't agree with the criticism, think twice. It might be possible that other can be seeing that you don't see it

  11. Do not maintain any bad feeling

    Always try to clear the air. If you are upset with the co-worker criticized you, let him or her know. Take a quick catch-up meeting that could be made to strong your relationship

  12. Be optimistic and happy whatever the criticism

    Do not give him/her a chance to let you down if you are not responsible. Try to be happy and optimistic for every criticism

Things to remember

  1. To deal with criticism positively you may require self-believe and some assertiveness skills
  2. Always keep in mind that it is your being criticized, not you
  3. Always take time to respond or show reaction, this will save you loads of problems in future
  4. If you got any opportunity try to discuss the criticism with someone you trust
  5. It is not always right that your co-workers are doing this because he/she does not like you. It might be because they want you to improve your work
  6. If you feel that the criticism is unjustified, keep a copy of critical mails or letters
  7. If you feel any written criticism is unfair, respond to it in a polite but strong way. Written mails/letters are generally kept on file and if you have failed to respond, the record only show one-sided(co-worker's) point of view.
  8. Don't try to get it back, specially with your manager, remember he has the authority to manage the team members.

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Author: Kailash Kumar18 Mar 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

I would say that the individual who gets constructive criticism from his friends/coworkers is luckier as it gives him/her an opportunity to add value to the work in future. Constructive criticism is always delivered with a smile and is invariably accompanied by appreciation of the good work at the same time. Rather constructive criticism is delivered only after first highlighting the appreciative component. Only well wishers offer constructive criticism with a genuine desire to see improvement in the performance in future. As far as negative criticism is concerned, the same should be totally ignored.

Author: K Mohan10 Jun 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

I do agree that we cannot develop ourselves unless and until we have a constructive criticism and critical appreciation of our work by others. For that matter one cannot learn anything if the life is smooth. We always learn when the life becomes challenging, the situation going from bad to worse and above all consistent failures will bring in fresh enthusiasm be more precise and forward looking attitude. Surely success after failures are always achieved.

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