Handling Criticism at Work: 5 Steps to Boost Your-Self Confidence

Let’s face it – handling criticism at work is tough for everyone – even the most confident professionals. In fact, the more seasoned you are, the more adept you become at interpreting out-of-the-blue calendar invites from your boss featuring cryptic notes like “Let’s catch up.”  This is often management speak for the dreaded constructive feedback talk.

We’ve all heard the expression ‘thick skinned’.  But studies show individuals with a greater sensitivity to receiving criticism at work ranked among the most dissatisfied in their jobs, received poorer performance reviews, and possessed lower self esteems. According to career consultant Andrea Kay, “If you can handle criticism… with open mind and willingness to hear the lesson behind the critique — you will be happier at your job.”

Without a doubt, receiving criticism at work can be intimidating and feel quite personal, but it doesn’t have to.  Check out these five steps to help you regroup and give a boost to your self esteem after receiving negative feedback:

1. Be realistic
No matter how great of a fit you are for your job and company, feedback in the workplace is inevitable.  Know that everyone at some point takes their turn in the hot seat.  If we didn’t, we’d all be more like robots, right?

2. Maintain perspective
Bear in mind that your personal life and your career are two radically worlds.  Life is about nurturing, loving and enduring relationships – the essence of our existence.  Work is compensated time spent along side professional, friendly, yet transient individuals.

3. Eyes on your own paper
Anticipating feedback – good or not so good – is 50% of the battle.  Being honest with yourself is the most authentic game changer of all.  Can’t admit you missed the deadline?  Afraid to own up to the missing page in the proposal?  To succeed in life or your career, it’s critical to embrace your errs, tell yourself it’s going to be okay and that you’ll do better, then take a breath and let it go.  Focus on getting better – not being perfect.

4. Brush yourself off
Receiving criticism is nerve wracking (and often times embarrassing), but it gets easier – I promise!  If you’re especially anxious, find a mantra that works to keep you present and calm.  One to try is “be easy“.  We often forget to give ourselves permission to not only be nice to ourselves, but to be imperfect.

5. Care less
The ability to properly re-frame things is one of life’s greatest lessons.  So when a manager conveys that you need to do better on XYZ, hear them out in a respectful manner, but don’t over-emphasize the importance behind the words. While your mind might be wrought with worry about being fired, the energy you exert worrying about what someone thinks about you or your work not only depletes you spiritually, but surrenders your control over to them – and without their knowledge!  Remember: your manager is performing a service; chances are that they may have little, if any, vested interest in how their feedback will affect you.

So, the next time you find yourself stressing over some professional feedback – be it constructive or undeserving – hopefully these  takeaways can help lighten the load.

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Career, HR, job