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How to Accept Criticism at Work

Inspiring, Not Insulting

It's something that everybody in the workforce will experience at one point or another: Criticism. Getting criticized in the workplace can leave people feeling both insulted and angry, or even lose confidence in their job performance. But criticism shouldn't be a bad thing! There are good reasons for a person to be criticized, and the right criticism can help them improve. Learning how to accept criticism at work is a vital skill… and one that, with a few simple tips, you can easily learn.

Remember: It Isn't Personal!

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When we're criticized, it's a normal human reaction to initially feel angry. After all, the person is criticizing work that you have worked on. It can seem like they're criticizing you. But that isn't the case when you're getting criticized while at work. The first step to accepting this is to not give in to your first instinctual feeling. Criticism at work is not personal, and is not defaming you.

Criticism has a Purpose

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You aren't being criticized for absolutely nothing. Chances are that there is a good reason for this. While the details of why you're being criticized can change, the underlying purpose stays the same:  You're being criticized so that you can improve your performance. Whether you're improving your performance by correcting a problem, working faster, or even simply tweaking your work style, the purpose of criticism will always stay the same:  To help you improve.

Really Listen to the Criticism

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Now that you know that criticism isn't personal, and that it is actually there to help you, it's time to make sure that you really understand what the person criticizing you is saying. The best way to do that is to really listen to what they're saying. Don't spend the entire time that they're talking thinking about a rebuttal. Instead, take what they say to heart and don't become defensive.

Ask Questions

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Of course, there will be times when, even when you're listening very carefully, the criticism  just doesn't click in your head. It might be confusing you, or you might simply not understand what they're asking of you. This is the perfect time to ask questions! Get them to clarify what they mean, and what they expect. This can be a good thing to do, even if you're sure that you understand them.

Follow Up

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So, you've moved past thinking that criticism is a personal attack, accepted that it's there to help you improve, listened to the criticizer, and even asked questions, to better understand the criticism. What's left? Following through! Once you've started altering your behavior or performance in the way you were asked, you should follow up with the person criticizing you, to make sure that you're now performing as expected. This also shows that you're a valuable worker who is able to adapt to new expectations.

Being criticized at work is inevitable; it happens to the best o f us. But criticism isn't a bad thing. Instead, it should be viewed as a way to improve. By taking it as such, you can become a better, more valuable worker.

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