While receiving criticism can feel daunting, it’s important to remind yourself that it will only help you in the long run, and really, it’s something we should all be craving. Here’s how to make the most of feedback.
Learn the difference between good and bad criticism
Constructive criticism should be supportive in nature and help you strengthen a skill you already have or let you know what areas you could learn more about. It shouldn’t put you or your work down, and definitely shouldn’t leave you feeling completely deflated and at a lost end.
Figure out how you deal with criticism
Do you reflect and take it on board? Do you get defensive and angry or upset? Or maybe you’re a mixture: defensive at first, but after some time and space can look at it objectively. Knowing how you respond to criticism will help you in being able to take it on board and strengthen from it. If you need some time to come to grips with it, remind yourself of this when receiving the feedback, and return to it at a later time.
Understand who it’s coming from
Who the criticism is coming from can have a big impact on how the criticism should be taken. If it’s from your manager, it’ll have more weight and importance. However, if it’s coming from someone who doesn’t have an understanding or experience in the area, it may not hold as much validity – but don’t completely dismiss it. Sometimes feedback from someone without skin in the game can provide insights you may not expect. In certain areas understanding who it’s more important to listen to will help you make better decisions around what feedback to take on, and which you can let slide.
Know that you don’t have to adapt to the criticism
It’s an awful feeling when you receive feedback that you really don’t agree with. Someone’s told you that the report needs to be written in this way, or that the project should be conducted differently. It’s important to be respectful in these situations and have an open discussion, understanding the facts and desired outcome. It’s possible that while at first you don’t agree, after asking more questions, you may change your mind. But, you may decide not to follow the advice, and that’s okay, too.
There’s no need to dread criticism, in fact there’s more reasons to be excited about it. Don’t think about it as a chance for people to put you down and highlight everything you’re doing wrong, but instead think it’s an opportunity to get better and produce even higher quality work. Just because you receive feedback, doesn’t mean you’re bad or doing things wrong. It means there’s some room for you to become even better.