No one enjoys being criticized, especially when it comes to their job. Take Cara Delevingne’s harsh responses to Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden, who said she was ‘unprofessional’ in that interview we all cringed at.
The actress replied on Twitter saying she ‘has no idea who is he’ and that he must actually be desperate for attention to criticize someone he doesn’t know. Ouch! Later she seemed to have realised her tweet was a bit inappropriate as she deleted her tweets and actually retweeted Madden’s apology.
As it hard as it to take, criticism can actually be a good thing. Studies show that the ability to learn from criticism fuels creativity at work and helps the free flow of valuable communication.
To avoid a Cara-like situation at work – as your boss probably wouldn’t be as understanding as Madden – here are five ways to tackle the rare skill of taking criticism well.
1. Evaluate where criticism is coming from
Is this person important to you and do you value their opinion? Sometimes people can criticize you just to bring you down, so you have to assess the person’s reasons for saying what they’ve said. If it’s criticism coming from your boss, then you should probably hear it, but think twice if it’s an unfriendly colleague who’s after the same promotion as you.
2. Change your attitude
Taking criticism requires practice, humility and positivism. Try to see past the negative side and instead face criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Make a list of your strengths and remember them while you work on your weaknesses.
3. Don’t take it personally
Your career is important to you and takes so much of your life that being told you’re not 100% fabulous in every aspect is soul-crushing. But remember, perfection is unattainable. And boring. When someone criticizes you at work, compartmentalize it into your professional mental box and don’t let it affect the rest of your life.
4. Turn in to goals
You’ll only be defeated by criticism if you believe you can’t change. We can work on most aspects of ourselves to become better humans and professionals, so ask yourself what part of that criticism can be worked on. No one is born perfect and the best you can do is work to become a better version of yourself everyday.
5. Thank the critic
If nothing else, your reaction will catch them off guard. It’s unexpected, especially if they’ve been harsh to you, and your attitude of gratitude may actually make them respect you more. And even if they don’t take your reaction well, it’s a way of reminding yourself that criticism is a good thing!