Constructive Criticism is Great! Here is What You Can Learn.

Woman looking at man while he talks to her and points at laptop

Constructive criticism: helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive)

Why is constructive criticism hard to hear, even when you ask for it?

Maybe because deep down, you secretly wish others would say you are perfect and doing everything right.

Being made aware of faults is tough but trust us, the alternative isn’t all that glamorous. If you aren’t being given feedback, that isn’t a sign that you’re perfect, that is a sign of much bigger problems.

Respect those who give radical candor – they want you to improve and succeed.

In an article written by Amber Shiflett, she made some great points about receiving constructive criticism. She mentioned how it increases insight and perspective and how it can cultivate a trustworthy workplace, all of which are true.

There needs to be a mindset shift. Criticism is inevitable. So instead of becoming defensive, use it as an opportunity to learn. Chances are you have received feedback before that was unpleasant but necessary. And chances are that feedback helped you make improvements. So, what can you learn now?

There is benefit in receiving feedback.

As noted above, there is benefit in receiving feedback. You gain insight and perspective you didn’t have before. You see situations with new lenses. You become stronger and more confident. When feedback in the right form is given, the opportunity for unbound development is invaluable. Think of it as adding gains to your portfolio.

What to do when you receive constructive criticism:

  1. Relax. Relax and listen respectfully. View the feedback as an opportunity for improvement. Remember, there is benefit in getting feedback.
  2. Don’t take it personally. A common reaction is to become defensive or emotional. Radical candor is meant to help, not harm. Realize those speaking with you only want you to achieve success.
  3. Take time. Allow yourself time to process the evaluation you received. Give yourself time to reflect and digest the information.
  4. Ask questions. Take notes during the conversation and follow up with questions so you can fully understand what was discussed. Ask for specifics and make sure you understand what was communicated.
  5. Thank you. Thank those individuals for taking time to discuss these items with you. Be appreciative for their time and candor.
  6. Solicit help. How do you use the information provided to make necessary improvements? Ask for recommendations on what your next steps should be.
  7. Follow up. Follow up matters. Use the suggestions given to make the necessary changes and be consistent.

What’s next?

Now it is time to put it into practice.

Have a list of the areas you need to focus on and arm yourself with tools to achieve success. For example, if you were told that your approach to email communication is lacking a respectful tone, make the necessary changes. Learn from others how they compose respectful emails. Use the power of the Internet and find examples of properly composed messages. Continue to seek feedback and guidance. Be consistent.

Knowing your strengths and areas needing change is immensely helpful. Keep a list in your planner, save notes on your hard drive, write down reminders on a sticky note, find ways that work best for you to achieve success.

This is your path, you are in control.


For more suggestions or comments, email us at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com. We look forward to working with you.

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