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You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into a report, you proudly hand it over to your manager, expecting mountains of praise in return, but instead, you only receive harsh remarks over what’s missing and that the formatting is wrong.

Handling criticism at work can be incredibly difficult sometimes. I think it’s normal to want recognition and a bit of praise. You’re at work all day, five days a week, if you feel like you’re slogging your guts all the time, you will do your head in! But sometimes you just need to box on.

‘Criticism’ in the workplace is meant to be constructive. You’re being told this ‘feedback’ in order to help make your work better. Remind yourself that it’s not personal. You’re not being personally critiqued but rather being given advice . At the end of the day, the aim is to get the best result. It doesn’t mean it can be easy to stomach (easier said than done right) but try take it on board as something constructive to help you.

So try not get defensive over it. Calmly listen to what the person has to say and try and receive it gracefully. You don’t want to get all huffy and puffy over it because you want to remain professional.

Don’t forget some people just jump to the negative stuff. I swear, when I’m in a rush and looking over someone else’s work, it is so easy to just launch into what needs fixing, by-passing the Welldone Remarks. Not good I know, your manager should know better, but we are all human-beings and it does happen from time to time.

It can be so much easier to believe the negative stuff right? And not really hear the part where you have been praised! Our brains seem to hold onto those harsher remarks. But only you can change that.

I think in these situations you need to be the judge of your own work. Remember that saying “give yourself a pat on the back”? Yea, apply that!
Don’t rely on your colleagues or clients for praise, instead praise yourself. You be the judge, if you think you’ve done a really good job, then hold onto that feeling.

When in doubt over handling these kind of issues, try and make the situation light. Sometimes humour (when appropriate) can really help turn a sticky situation around. I’m not saying that you should crack a joke if you’re being told off about something, you want to show that you take it seriously! But sometimes you can make a situation worse by taking it all very straight up and down, and getting upset and fussy. Instead, try have a small laugh over it and then move on.

How do you handle criticism at work?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

4 comments on “How To Handle Criticism At Work”

    • Hi Beth, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Like anything, it’s just practise! Focusing on the positive is a really good strategy. Celebrate the little wins and try not to take anything personally!

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