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7 Steps to Managing Criticism at the Workplace

criticism at workplace

How do you handle criticism at the workplace? Have you ever thought about how to deal with criticism positively? Our lovely guest influencer Matuli Madhusmita Swain, who is an actress, author, speaker, life coach, marketing and communications expert with over 14 years of professional experience has shared an insightful article that can help you to manage criticism at the workplace better way-

Criticism at the workplace can hit hard!

It is a tough teacher for sure and can demoralize even the most resilient mind and heart. Work-place criticism is a dicey slope to navigate, given the high-pressure work environment, competition and the nagging fear of failure. It is impossible to avoid mistakes and hence whether you are a manager, boss or a team leader – the ability to give and receive criticism is a skill that is rarely taught in the formative years of life. Criticism when viewed with a neutral mindset can be a gateway for self-awareness, growth and success. 

So, next time, you are under scrutiny, here are a few things to remember. 

  1. Appreciate efforts: Before you hit the criticism button with full force, take a minute to acknowledge the work done. We often wait for validation and approval without having much self-reflection. Being in charge of one’s own efforts is a great step to view criticism with a neutral lens. 
  2. Consider the source: Offices are a communication labyrinth. When criticism hits hard, it is best to consider the source. We often fall prey to second, third degree communication lines, causing our own selves much mental and emotional strife. When faced with outright criticism at work, check who is criticizing you? If the person is a senior or has relevant experience, it is wise to consider the feedback with an open mind. Else, let go. 
  3. Quantify the context: One of the best ways to learn from any criticism directed at you or when you have to share critical feedback, is to quantify the context. Give it a number. How many days was the work delayed? When was it expected? How quickly is the turnaround time to be? This allows the criticism to be more contained and have a framework to begin with, rather than a massive mental block and vagueness that cannot be overcome. 
  4. Ask questions: Critical feedback, especially for highly sensitive personalities, does have the effect of leading to a complete or partial brain freeze. The feeling of being absolutely good-for-nothing, an imposter syndrome can set in. A way to break free is to ask questions about the criticism directed at you. Simple questions – what exactly has to be improved, or looked at? Is this really under your work scope? What are the resources needed to complete the work? What are the performance metrics on a task? 
  5. Action the response: The best way to counter criticism is to step up the action game. Words travel fast but actions stay forever. Action a specific response that best deals with changed behavior and get started on it, asap and immediately. The initial behavioral change is hard, but improvement is always worth it. Without defining an action to the criticism received, it is impossible to break the loop.   
  6. Embrace a deadline: Deadlines – this is one space where they are not so threatening at all. Genuine change or improvement, needs action and a deadline is a great way to meet up to the new behavior. When you decide to take critical feedback into self-growth model, a deadline helps to stay on course. Make sure the new action is measurable and targeted and time driven. 
  7. Name and Claim: Like we claim our achievements, the ability to take criticism with an open mind is a quality worth nurturing. The world will never be fully on your side, and always you won’t be right – so criticism can be the levelling tool. If you have taken up changed behavior and course-corrected yourself to achieve desired results, make sure to name and claim your victory. 

Sensible working, always!

AUTHOR BIO: Matuli Madhusmita Swain is an actress, author, speaker, life coach, marketing, and communications expert with over 14 years of professional experience working with leading hospitality brands, advertising companies, and social development sector in India. Today, she creates content, is game for her big-screen debut, and helps business owners create simple and strategic marketing initiatives that help them scale up their business goals and find their individual media voices. Matuli loves good content and champions conversations on marketing, movies, women leadership, new-age workplace practices, economics, entrepreneurship, sustainable travel, and tourism. 

Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://in.linkedin.com/in/matuli-madhusmita-swain-5400487 

Representative Photo attribution: www.freepik.com  

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