Tips on How to Handle Criticism

how to handle criticism
Boss reproaching one of employees after work

Criticism isn't something everyone is a fan of, but it's an important part of the growing process in life and in work. Without criticism, you wouldn't know if you were doing things right or how you can go about making the changes you need to be more successful.

Of course, there's constructive criticism and negative criticism – so it's important to understand both. And, how to handle criticism when it happens.

What Is Criticism?

When you criticize someone, you are letting them know that you don't approve of something they've done. It could be the exact thing they did, the process they went to get there, or something else. Essentially, you are pointing out someone's flaws and mistakes.

When you do this in an over-critical manner, it is negative criticism. In this way, you don't offer any advice on how the person can make a valid improvement – you just want to tell them they're wrong and maybe make them inferior.

The positive side of criticism, constructive criticism, is to make careful judgments of someone or something. You may criticize something someone did, but you do it tactfully, and you give them an explanation of what they did wrong, possibly followed up with some advice on how to improve.

Giving Criticism

When it comes to giving criticism, tact is an important thing to remember. Tact is a way of being sensitive with difficult topics, and being criticized is definitely difficult to deal with for some people. In fact, giving and receiving criticism can be a hard pill to swallow.

The key to giving criticism is to make sure you're doing it in a constructive manner. You don't want your employees to feel useless and quit just because they need a little more training, right? Here are some ways to better give out criticism.

1. Tone of Voice

Watch how you say things. Tone and inflection can change the entire outlook on your critique of someone. While you can do this if you're messaging someone online with a critique, you should pay attention to what you say and how you say it in person.

Be constructive, not rude. When you're offering something like severe criticism, find a way to point out some of the things the person did right, as well as ways they can improve. You want them to understand what they did wrong, not feel ashamed and degraded for their mistakes.

2. Chosen Words

The right words will make a difference as well. Find kind, motivational words that show them they can do better next time. “You made a mistake here, but had you done things this way you'd have avoided that mistake.” Don't swear. Don't talk to them like they're a child.

3. Offer Suggestions

Constructive criticism means that you are offering suggestions to help the person out – you're not just telling them they did something wrong. Constructive criticism examples include showing someone how to properly do something, taking them through the steps of how they did what they did wrong, and offering to help them be more successful as they move forward.

How to Handle Constructive Criticism and Negative Criticism

If you feel like you're under constant criticism, you're probably wondering how to deal with it. You need to know how to handle criticism that is constructive and criticism that isn't so constructive.

  • Assertiveness – When it comes to negative criticism, learn flaws and mistakes. You don't deserve to be bullied at home or at work, so voice your opinion when someone is coming off rude with their critique. Ask them to be more helpful and go over the issues with you.
  • Expect It – Everyone is bound to face criticism at some point in their life. Be ready for it so that it doesn't surprise you. Take the points that are offered to you and implement them as (or if) you see fit.

Depending on where the criticism is coming from and in what capacity, you have every right to keep doing things your own way. When you're criticized by a friend for your life choices, their opinions don't make them right and doesn't make their advice right for you in your particular situation.

Weigh the info you're given and do what's right for you.

Why Criticism Is Needed

Not all criticism is bad, and it helps to learn to take the good with the bad. Once you master how to deal with criticism, it can be easier to keep moving on with your day when someone has told you that you're doing it all wrong.

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