How to Handle Constructive Criticism in a Healthy Way
Learning how to accept and respond to feedback is an important part of your personal and professional development.
Applying the feedback you receive from others – whether it’s a professor, a supervisor, a colleague or a peer – can help you be more successful and meet the expectations you’ve set for yourself and those that others have set for you.
Here’s how you should seek to handle constructive criticism and how you can use it to your advantage:
Don’t take it personally
First, understand that the person offering constructive criticism does not intend to make you feel bad about yourself. Rather, they recognize your strengths and are giving you the tools to recognize and overcome weaknesses. It’s up to you to turn that feedback into something positive that motivates you to keep working hard and to improve.
Some people have a tendency to react negatively to constructive criticism. They might try to defend themselves, or escalate the tone of the conversation. It’s better to stay calm and really listen to what the person has to say. The key is to be receptive to advice from others.
Keep an open mind
Keeping an open mind allows you to properly engage yourself in the process. When the person giving the feedback has finished sharing their thoughts, you can think about what they said and begin to self-examine. Make sure you express that you are thankful for their feedback – and make sure you are being sincere. Communicating gratitude doesn’t mean you are approving the assessment, but it shows that you are recognizing the evaluation and appreciate their thoughts.
Work towards a solution
It is now time to process the constructive criticism. This is a good time to clarify any misunderstandings, as well as share your viewpoint. Ask questions that help you understand what the issue is and what you can do to address the issue moving forward. Because nothing was taken personally, you can be more focused on understanding the feedback and coming up with a solution. You can speak from a settled state of mind and keep the dialogue productive and professional.
Constructive criticism allows us to learn about our weaknesses while continuing to grow and improve. Keep an open mind and recognize that the person who is giving you advice just wants to see you succeed.