4 Tips to Cope with Constructive Criticism at Work
I've shed many tears in the bathroom because of constructive criticism. As a perfectionist, any criticism, even criticism worded nicely, makes me feel terrible. But there is so much to be gained from taking this feedback and using it to be more successful. And isn't that what we really want?
By changing your perspective on criticism using these smart mindset tricks, you'll be able to take the emotion out of the situation and make the best calls for your career.
Being able to cope with constructive criticism and use it to your advantage can really change things on your career path. Take the time to learn coping mechanisms and you'll thank yourself for it later.
Because criticism won't stop. In fact, the higher you climb, the more criticism you'll have all around you, but that doesn't' have to be debilitating. You can use it to climb even higher. Part of the mindset around coping with constructive criticism is understanding what's constructive and what's not. It's knowing what opinions matter and what you can ignore. Ready to learn?
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1. Criticism Has Little to Do with You
This is one of the biggest mindset changes for me. We grow up thinking that criticism is all about us. We think it means that we're doing something wrong. But in reality, constructive criticism says more about the person giving the criticism than the person getting it.
Criticism is one person's opinion on what you do. It tells you what that person is looking for.
Why is this true? Multiple people can have different opinions and criticisms, right? They aren't right or wrong. They each have subjective opinions. So constructive criticism is based on what the person criticizing you thinks. That's it.
Use constructive criticism to inform yourself of how you can please your boss. What she gives you feedback on is what she wants to see more of. That's all. You can get ahead in your career by paying attention to this and giving your boss more of what they want.
2. It's Not Your Business If They Like You
Brooke Castillo said it best on her podcast, other people's opinions of you are none of your business! When you get criticism that's more personal than usual or at least you're taking it personally, you need to remember that what they think is none of your business.
No one ever said you have to please everyone. In fact, even if you tried your hardest, it wouldn't be possible. Seriously, try to imagine one scenario where you could please everyone on Earth...It's not possible.
We fear what it feels like to not be liked. But all that fearing does is keep us exactly where we are. It stops us from growing the way we need to grow.
So instead of trying to please other people and take all their constructive criticism very personally, do your best. Decide who you are and what you offer and live up to that. This is when you'll need to use your desktop zen, gain your composure and choose not to take other people's opinions personally.
3. Use Other Means to Determine Self-Worth
If your self-worth is based on how well you perform at work, yes, you're going to be crushed when you don't perform well. It is so much healthier for you to find something else to base how you feel about yourself on.
Ultimately, you want to get to a place where your self-worth is inherent. You're going to make mistakes, that's part of why we have this life, but those mistakes don't have to make you any less worthy. If you have the point of view that everyone is worthy of love and success just by existing, you'll find you don't have to be so hard on yourself!
What does this mean at work? We need to develop a growth based mindset. We're doing good when we're growing, not necessarily when we're executing things perfectly.
4. Take Note of Lessons Learned
One thing that I like to do at the end of the day is note lessons learned. I create columns in my journal for things I'm grateful for, things I'm excited about, and lessons I learned.
You can turn any negative situation into a positive one by figuring out what the lesson you learned is. Don't we all need to be more positive? So take that constructive criticism and determine what you can learn from each piece of feedback.
Create a folder or journal you use just for work to keep track of these lessons learned and you'll save yourself the trouble of having to learn those lessons again.
What are your tips for dealing with constructive criticism? Share your thoughts in the comments below.