How To Accept Criticism At Work: 17 Professional Steps

If you’ve ever wondered how to accept criticism at work, this article is for you.

It’s never easy to take criticism as a working adult. It’s hard not to take criticism personally, and it’s even harder if you hear it often.

However, you can turn criticism in the workplace into a source of growth and success with careful listening, the right attitude, and frequent self-assessment.

How To Accept Criticism At Work:

1. Try to keep your emotional reactions to a minimum.

It is natural to get angry when you receive criticism, but try not to respond when you are unhappy. Take some time to understand the context of the criticism and collect your thoughts before responding.

If you are in an awkward situation and are expected to respond immediately, say something like: “Could you give me some time to think about what you said?” I will get back to you as soon as possible.

2. Pay attention to what is being said.

Criticism of any kind can be difficult to take, but it is important to pay attention to what is being said so you can understand the issues and improve your work.

If confrontation makes you fearful or agitated, it’s a good idea to ask that the criticism be given to you in writing (via email or report) so you can understand it properly.

Just make sure you are paying attention and understand what is being said to you.

3. Refrain from being defensive.

Even if you disagree with what is said, it is important to explore alternative viewpoints and ideas, especially if you work in a subjective sector such as art or politics.

4. Write down some comments.

It is hard to take criticism, but it is much harder to face the same criticism repeatedly, so pay attention to what is being said. Make a note of any particular things that interest you.

For example, if you just gave a presentation and your project leader specifically criticized the way you presented the conclusion, make a note of that so you don’t repeat that mistake next time.

5. Ask questions.

Make sure you understand the criticism. If you don’t understand what’s wrong, you won’t be able to improve. Therefore, ask for clarification or ask questions if you have any. Asking questions also shows that you want to improve and do the task correctly next time.

Make sure you ask questions that are both complimentary and specific.

Don’t be afraid to seek advice. “How can I do it better next time?” you may wonder.

SEE ALSO: How To Improve Your Soft Skills In The Workplace: 17 Strategies

6. Say “thank you” at the end of the conversation.

Even though taking criticism can be difficult, it is still crucial to be grateful and thank people for taking the time to help you improve your work (1). Even if you don’t feel gratitude in the moment, you’ll be glad later that you said it when you notice how much your skill level has improved.

7. Get to work on improving right away.

Don’t waste time getting offended or depressed over criticism. Instead, get to work as soon as possible. Make every effort to incorporate feedback into your improved work so that you don’t forget what was said.

8. Ask for an informal evaluation of your improvement efforts.

After you’ve made changes, or after you’ve done your best to make changes, ask your employer or manager for a brief evaluation of your performance to make sure you’ve successfully addressed the problem.

This way, not only do you show respect and a desire to grow, but you can develop and improve your talents without the pressure of a formal performance review and the resulting conflict.

9. Assume that others are trying to help you.

Criticism is easier to accept when we think that those who are giving it are only trying to help us improve our work.

If you think others are criticizing you in order to bring you down or make you feel terrible, you will react with negative feelings and behaviors that will be harmful to both you and them.

Focus on the aspects of criticism from which you can learn and grow. Don’t worry about how the person expressed it or any other small nuances.

10. Strive to be better.

It takes a lifetime to learn and master a skill or profession. Try to accept criticism because there is always something you can do to improve your work. It is a necessary step on the road to success.

SEE ALSO: Here’s How To Get a Job During Recession [In 12 Steps]

11. Be open to new ideas and methods of doing things.

You may do a task well, but the way you do it may not be correct. Different people prefer different ways of doing things, and most tasks can be done in more than one way. Be willing to consider other ways to achieve your goals. This is the most effective way to learn!

12. Seek feedback regularly.

It may sound counterintuitive-especially if you despise criticism-but by asking for it, you put yourself in a position of power. Even if everyone seems to be happy with your work, you can go to them first and ask instead of waiting for them to tell you what’s wrong.

Consider asking yourself: “How can I improve this project?” or “How can I make this project even better?” “How can I improve next time?” “Can you tell me how I can improve my performance?”

Asking for feedback helps you grow faster, which means you get promoted faster, get a raise, or get more responsibilities.

13. Be willing to learn from your mistakes. 

Criticism will never go away if you keep making the same mistakes. It’s better to make new mistakes and learn from them than to stifle your personal progress because you haven’t improved on previous ones.

Always approach a new job with previous criticism in mind to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

14. Always double check your work.

Everyone gets tired and loses attention, especially at the end of the week or after a hard day. When you’re tired, it’s easy to make silly mistakes, so check your work at least twice before submitting it.

If you’re afraid you’ll miss a mistake, ask a friend to double check your work (2).

15. Evaluate your own performance.

Don’t wait for others to point out your shortcomings. Take time to frequently evaluate your own work. It can be beneficial to be your own worst critic. Others will not have to criticize you if you correct the problem before it becomes a habit.

16. Try to resolve disagreements yourself.

If you have trouble accepting criticism from others, talk to them about it in a nice way. Explain your point of view and how their criticism affects you.

If your boss keeps assigning you more work but complains that you are late with it, say something like: “I’m aware of my lateness and I apologize, but I have a hard time meeting deadlines when I get extra work that I don’t always have time for.” Could we come up with a solution together? “

17. Write a report about the problem.

If you have made a concerted effort to be open and flexible but the criticism persists or seems unfair or unwarranted, you may need to report it to someone higher up. Avoid giving the impression of being a “story teller” and maintain a professional, unbiased, and willing attitude.

In a meeting with your supervisor, you might say, “I’ve noticed that the reason I’m late is because I get extra work on top of my regular assignments. I hate to disappoint my co-workers, but I can’t finish tasks before the deadline if I don’t have enough time to do them. Do you have any ideas on how to solve this problem?

Thank you for reading this article about how to accept criticism at work and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here