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Constructive Criticism, how do you deal with it.

You’ve just been given some constructive criticism by your employer or your peer. What you choose to do next, depends on your personality and your willingness to consider the facts.

You’re an optimist by nature: Great, however, it must be balanced with a sense of realism. Don’t set yourself up for a fall. If you begin everything in life thinking “nothing can go wrong”, you’ve left yourself open to life throwing you a curve ball when you least expect it. You maybe great at your job, but you’re not God, and you do not have the ability to control the many obstacles thrown at you during your professional life.

Don’t take it personally: So you’re a bit sensitive, who isn’t? It’s very difficult at times to take a step back from a situation and think “what exactly they meant by that”? If you have been given constructive, relevant, professional criticism from your boss or a respected colleague, you owe it to yourself to try and learn from it. By ignoring the advice given, you are creating an opportunity for history to repeat itself. Even if the advice is putting you in defense mode and has put you firmly on your high horse, try and separate any positive comments from the negative. This will leave you open to absorbing the information better, and you are more likely to learn from the over all situation.

History repeats itself: You’ve “buried your head in the sand” and received the same criticism time and time again. If your employer feels the constructive criticism is falling on deaf ears, you are opening up another can of worms. Your employer will start to consider if you are really the type of employee the organisation wants.

By taking the time to consider the below and pro-actively discussing them with your peers or managers, you are showing them that you are trying everything possible to improve the process and the subsequent outcome.

  • Ask yourself what are you missing?
  • Did you genuinely strive for process improvement this time?
  • Did you put procedures in place to stop the problem re-occurring?
  • Constructively, think what your peers, managers, clients etc. can do to help the process next time round.
  • Are there uncontrollable influences, affecting the over all result? If so highlight them.

Don’t hold a grudge: You’re not in the playground anymore. Staying angry and upset can affect your future relationships and productivity at work. Learn from the mistakes, put them out of your mind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task. If you’re upset with how your peers offered constructive criticism, tell them, let him or her know, as soon as possible, so there are no lingering bad feelings between the two of you. Explain why it upset you, and suggest changes that could be made to strengthen your relationship.

There is a fine line between being confident and being cocky: Nobody’s perfect, accept the fact that others may see something that you don’t. Even if you don’t agree with the criticism but you know it was given with the best intentions, step back and evaluate. Maybe there is some truth to it. Going through life with a “God like complex” will close more doors than it will open. Turn the negatives into positives and be the best you can be.


Cork Office

CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900