So, you just finished what you thought was a great project at work, and now your boss is listing all the things you need to improve upon. Don't get discouraged; constructive criticism is a key part of any job.
Use the following information to apply to other aspects of your life as well. All change starts with self!!!
- Accept that you are not perfect. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you're fooling yourself. You will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.
- Double check your work. After you've finished, and before you submit your work to your supervisor, be sure you've gone over everything carefully. This can help you to avoid silly mistakes and ensure that your supervisor won't have to bother you about minor problems.
- Don't take it personally. If your co-worker or supervisor has criticism for you, remind yourself that it doesn't necessarily mean s/he doesn't like you, or that you're not good enough for the job. Your co-worker or supervisor is simply trying to ensure that you do the best work possible.
- Listen carefully. If you ignore critical comments, you're doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Take notes and continually remind yourself of how to fix the problem. This step is the most difficult because it can mean that you must "suck up" your pride and admit your responsibility in your work-related errors.
- Ask yourself what you can learn from this criticism. If you feel yourself growing defensive or getting angry, repeat the question “What can I learn from this because I am not perfect?”
- Agree with part of the criticism. When faced with criticism, most people focus on the part of the negative feedback that may not be true and ignore the rest. This doesn't solve any problems, and you don't learn anything. When you agree with one part of the criticism, you become open to learning. You don't have to agree with everything; even agreeing with one small aspect of the criticism will create an atmosphere of teamwork. The focus then can become how you'll work together to solve a problem, which will lessen your feeling of being attacked.
- Analyze and evaluate what you've heard. You need time to process the information, be open to the validity of criticism and decide what you'll do to solve the problem or correct the mistake. If this is a complaint you've heard repeatedly, you should think about what you can learn from the situation so it doesn't happen again.
- Don't hold a grudge. Staying angry/upset about criticism can affect your future work. Put the mistakes out of your mind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task. Humility is a feat within itself for some.
- Clear the air. If you're upset with how your co-worker criticized you, let him or her know without aggression as soon as possible, so there are no lingering bad feelings between the two of you. Explain why it upset you, and suggest changes that could be made to strengthen your relationship.
- Accept the fact that others may see something that you don't. Even if you don't agree with the criticism, others may see something that you are not even aware of. If they say that you are negative or overbearing, and you don't feel that you are, well, maybe you are and you just don't see it. Allow for the fact that others may be right, and use that possibility to look within yourself.
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