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

 

Dealing with Professional Adversity

Laid off when you least expected it? Passed over for that promotion you were counting on? Maybe your small business failed? It’s not the end of the world, and the most difficult times can be learning experiences. Here’s how to pick yourself up when faced with career adversity and look to the future with renewed enthusiasm and confidence.

 

Take a Moment

Take some time to acknowledge this major life change or disappointment. It can be quite a jolt to your routine when you don’t have to wake up in the morning to get dressed for work. Breathe and take it one day at a time – it’s perfectly fine to mourn the loss of a good thing, especially if you loved what you were doing. Activities like long walks, listening to music, and meditating in the morning to relax are great opportunities to take stock, and can help you reboot your system. It’s crucial to purge yourself of the negativity and despair that can come with being laid off before you start job hunting, for example. Wipe that slate clean!

 

Look at the Bright Side

Remember that it wasn’t all bad, even if you didn’t get that promotion. Make a note of some of the positive experiences at your past (or current) job, or lessons learned from a failed startup venture. How can you use that to your advantage moving forward? Perhaps your organizational skills were instrumental in the success of a project, or maybe there’s still a great idea in your failed business. “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Business Insider. “Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.”

 

Spruce Up Your Skillset

Treat as a learning opportunity and write out a list of things that you think you could have known or done better. This could include freshening up your social media skills or updating your knowledge of your industry’s best practices. You can go back to school for short-term courses, watch webinars in your area of expertise, start a blog, or do some volunteering (which looks great on your resume). The learning process never stops, and with the rapidly-changing job market, it will do you good to stay on top of the latest trends. You never know when your next opportunity – a new job, or another promotion – might come along. Be ready.

 

Move on Confidently

With your new knowledge and insight, it’s time for the hard work to begin. You’re wiser and more experienced, so position yourself in the professional world accordingly. Focus on your strengths. Remember to put things into perspective – layoffs aren’t personal, or you may get that promotion next time. Failure is the stepping stone to greatness, and things don’t always work out as planned. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

 

 

Baisakhi Roy | DBPC Blog

 

Five Signs You’re Destined to Be an Entrepreneur

  1. You are Confident in Anything You Do

Confidence plays an important role in achieving success. Thus, as an entrepreneur, it comes naturally to you. Entrepreneurs take tremendous risks and are responsible for putting big ideas together. All these are achieved because an entrepreneur believes they can do so.

For example, Howard Schultz once had a great idea to open up a high class café because he was inspired by the social life carried out in Italian expresso bars. Schultz worked for Starbucks while they were just a brand for coffee. At first, the company did not believe in owning coffee shops, but Schultz’s confidence persuaded them to do so. Schultz is now the chairman and CEO of Starbucks. His great idea led to Starbucks opening up franchises in over 50 countries.

  1. You Are Innovative

A true entrepreneur is always drafting, thinking and researching to “paint the big picture.” These are the types of people who look at the world from a whole new perspective and know that the world is filled with infinite possibilities. They don’t wait  for great things to happen, they make it happen.

A true entrepreneur puts everything aside to pursue a great idea. For instance, Steve Jobs did not believe in waking up every day to live like everyone else. He would say to himself, “’If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” His innovative mindset allowed Apple to release the first Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Not to mention, the numerous versions of each model.

  1. You have A Strong Sense of Curiosity

Entrepreneurs want to know about everything. It is impossible for them to avoid asking questions. Curiosity sparks creativity and unleashes some great inventions. Great entrepreneurs research and pursue things they never knew about.

One of the greatest examples of curiosity has been displayed by Mark Zuckerberg. At age 10, he was very bored with what he was learning at school but was fascinated with his father’s early model of an Altair computer. He learned how to write softwares, and at age 11, he even hired a computer programming tutor. Zuckerberg’s curiosity led him to be well-educated and allowed him to develop numerous websites, with Facebook being the most successful.

  1. Your Brilliance Has Been Underestimated

Brilliant people are always underestimated, usually because they are misunderstood or taken for granted. Examine Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey. They are some of the world’s most successful people, but they have all been unfairly criticized.

Walt Disney, the great mind behind the Disney theme park and numerous animations was once fired by a newspaper editor because “he had no imagination.” The Disney Theme Park is formulated from imagination and is currently worth $35 billion dollars.

Next, we have Steve Jobs who was fired by Apple in 1993 – the very company he created. Jobs stated, “. . . getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. . . It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” When all failed for Apple, Jobs was rehired as interim CEO in 1996.

Lastly, Oprah Winfrey the “Queen of Daytime Talk TV” was once fired from a news station in Baltimore. Although they were not impressed with her, Oprah has built her own television network and earned an honorary doctorate from Duke and Harvard.

  1. You Have Passion

We all have something we are passionate about, but what sets an entrepreneur apart from others is that they choose to combine their passion and career together. If you’re an artist, create a gallery and display your work. If you love to bake, why not open up your own business?

Ralph Lauren originally studied business at Baruch College but dropped out to pursue other passions. He worked as a tie salesman for some time and was inspired by European tie designs. Ralph Lauren started his own store, and eventually his own designs. This all began because he chose to follow his passion.

 

L. Shabudin | DBPC Blog