5 Steps To Handling Criticism

Taking criticism is rarely easy and can oftentimes be downright unpleasant. But it’s a part of life, particularly in the workplace. To succeed in business – and life in general – you must be able to handle constructive criticism.

In an office environment, this can be feedback from a manager, a supervisor, a co-worker, or a colleague. Regardless of who’s giving it, constructive criticism is an important tool in any workplace, and how you handle it could very well determine the trajectory of your career, for good or ill. There’s no foolproof or guaranteed way to deal with criticism, but below are some steps to dealing with criticism in a positive and professional manner.

 

  1. Whatever Your Initial Reaction Just STOP

This is a tricky one, but it may also be the most important. A lot of times, when you’re being criticized, your first instinct will be to get defensive. Whatever your initial response is, do your best to stop it, immediately. Try to control your facial expressions and/or body language – no reaction is the best reaction – and don’t vocalize any knee-jerk quips or replies that pop into your head.

The natural human response to being attacked is to defend. But the absolute worst way to handle criticism is to attack the person offering it. Remember that criticism in the workplace is intended to help you improve, so don’t take it personally, and make yourself a silent promise to do better moving forward.

 

  1. Listen and Process the Criticism

Listen to what’s being said to you, rather than just reacting to it or getting defensive. Your boss (or colleague) is likely coming from a place of genuinely wanting to see you grow. Acknowledge the feedback (which is not the same as agreeing with it), and don’t look to lay blame or make excuses. Just take it in, and don’t interrupt.

Remember, evaluating staff is literally part of a manager’s job. Criticism is a crucial part of quality control in any business, and if you’re an employee who doesn’t handle it well, you’re marking yourself as a problem for management. Make it clear to your manager that you understand the criticism being offered, and pledge to improve your performance in that regard. Demonstrate an understanding of what needs to be improved upon and commit to making those improvements.

 

  1. Thank Your Critic

This may be tough for some folks, but it’s important. Taking criticism the right way has a lot to do with being a professional. Look your critic in the eye and thank them for the feedback. It shows that you’re a true professional, and it also shows that you acknowledge the time the other person took to share their thoughts and observations with you.

 

  1. Ask Questions

Now is the time for you to respond to the criticism, and a great way to do is to ask questions. Try to get to the centre of the issue at hand, and don’t focus on little details – it’s not a debate.

For example, if you’re being criticized for being too blunt with a colleague, ask if there was something specific that you said or did that was problematic, or if there are any other examples of that sort of behaviour on your part. It’s also crucial for you to acknowledge that you’re not disputing the feedback; in this example, admit that you could have handled the situation better, or that you wouldn’t necessarily appreciate being dealt with in that manner yourself.

Perhaps most importantly on this point, seek out solutions on moving forward. Ask for tips on how to deal with a similar situation in the future, or how to avoid a repeat incident. It shows that you’re sincerely engaged in the process and are making a true effort to improve.

 

  1. Follow Up

This last one is less crucial than the others, especially in a less formal constructive-criticism situation (e.g. from a colleague, rather than your manager), but in many situations dealing with constructive criticism, ask for a follow-up discussion. It will provide you with an opportunity to return to the issue, and for you to ask any more questions once you’ve had time to think about the feedback and truly process it, as well as think about solutions, and even ask others for advice. Once again, it shows engagement and a genuine desire to take in the feedback and improve your performance, which are traits that any manager would want in a member of their team.

It’s not always easy to hear constructive criticism, and for many managers, it’s not a lot of fun to give either. But this type of feedback is one of the best tools for improvement and development available to both managers and employees alike. Keep that in mind, and follow the steps outlined above, and you can become a better employee, colleague, and person.

 

Justin Anderson

 

Tips for Effective Training & Development

Talk to your employees first before beginning any training. It’s a good idea to understand what kind of guidance your employees actually need. The best way to do this is to assess their performance and see where they are struggling, then ask them if there are any additional skills they would be interested in picking up. This is important because a more generalized training course may not be helpful for an employee who is only having trouble with a specific circumstance; for example, dealing with difficult or unruly customers. It is extremely important that the training directly addresses real issues they are having on the job. Otherwise, it will not only be unhelpful to the employee and the organization, but the employee will come to see it as frivolous and resent future training sessions. These talks are best done one-on-one if possible, as it encourages the employees to be honest without fear of judgement from their peers. Here are some tips for effective training & development.

Nurture employee strengths instead of just picking on weaknesses
Training can be great for helping workers overcome their limitations, but if all you do is center on their faults, then you may be overlooking their potential when it comes to the things they actually are good at. For example, constantly focusing on addressing someone’s phone manner during sales calls may blind you to the fact that they write amazing copy or that they’re great at managing large amounts of data. That isn’t to say that existing problems should not be dealt with, but it is equally important to help guide them into roles in which they can excel to the benefit of both themselves and the company.

Maintain constant communication regarding employee development
Training is not a one-off affair; it is an ongoing process. It is never truly “complete”, as a great company will give their employees room to consistently evolve their skillsets and take on new responsibilities and opportunities. Continue to talk to your workers and maintain an understanding of where their insecurities are and where they are continuing to do well. Constant feedback from both employee and employer is the key to making sure workers stay confident, happy and engaged.

The key takeaway for any employer is that company engagement is the most important part of any successful employee training or development. The company needs to be invested in developing their workers and provide them the necessary tools and opportunities that they need to further themselves and their careers. If you keep this in mind, you should see your company advance just as far as they do.

 

Lance | DBPC Blog

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict happens. Differences of opinion and different work styles can create the problems. This strains the relationship between coworkers and reduces their efficiency as well as their productivity. They may become demotivated and dread coming into the office. But conflict can be an opportunity to more toward a better organized work environment if properly handled.

Below are some steps to help in avoiding or resolving conflict in the workplace:

Communication
This plays an important role in avoiding conflicts in the work place. Be very clear and specific with your message and communicate in a way that everyone can understand. When talking with your colleagues, make sure they understand all the information, since misunderstandings can lead to more problems later on. Provide all necessary data to avoid this.

Clarify Misunderstandings
When conflicts arises, bring both parties together and let them have a professional and respectful. Make sure each part understands the other’s point of view. At the end of the discussion, make sure an agreement should be established and that any misinterpretations are addressed.

Consider All
Speak with each party individually to understand the issue behind the strife. Ask them, what their suggestions are to avoid this situation in the future. After listening to them, analyze and focus on the problem itself rather than who did what. Aim to improve the work environment. Meet again with the parties involved and provide your solution to the problem. Be impartial and focus on what’s best for the company in order to avoid future complications.

Eliminate Negative Feelings
Solve the problem in a manner that helps both parties resolve their bitter feelings. Everyone needs to be satisfied with the solution, so that the work environment will remain friendly and respectful.

Be Cooperative
Everyone has their own ways of working and accomplishing tasks. Do not ignore this and let them express their opinions. Do not impose your ideas on others and instead of consider their views. Avoid bias, treat everyone equally and be fair with all your employees or co-workers. Bring it to their attention when they make mistakes but also applaud them for a job well done. If you make mistake, apologize and accept your part in causing the problem, everyone involved in the conflict has done something knowingly or unknowingly, so try to see the bigger picture. Never assume any conflict is insignificant. Always try to solve it as soon as possible, don’t let it fester. Try to always use written notes or emails to help your peers understand the solution to a problem.

Structure
Encourage collaboration. Create a structure of team work that requires staff to work together to complete tasks. This is one of the most effective conflict resolution techniques and will make the employees realize the importance of working as a team to support each other.

Wherever you work, everyone expects a friendly and healthy environment. It’s everyone’s responsibility to create a healthy office environment. It eliminates stress and keeps employees cheerful. More importantly, it brings out the best in people on a daily basis and helps increase productivity.

 

U. Lakhia | DBPC BLOG