Nobody's perfect. We all make mistakes, and we all have things we can improve on. This is especially true when it comes to our professional lives.
If you want to improve and grow in your career, it is important to learn how to take feedback constructively. Constructive criticism from your boss or clients (especially if you’re a new business or new employee) can be an invaluable asset to helping you reach your goals and develop professionally. While it's difficult to accept criticism without feeling a little defensive, it is essential for personal growth and development.
Why constructive criticism is your secret weapon
Learning how to take constructive criticism will help you become a better leader, communicator, and problem-solver. It can also open the door for new opportunities and help you make progress in your career. Constructive criticism can give you the insight and guidance you need to take your skills and abilities to the next level.
You might also find that constructive criticism helps to strengthen relationships with your colleagues, clients or customers. People will appreciate your openness and willingness to grow, which can lead to better teamwork, collaboration, and communication.
Here are some tips on how to receive constructive criticism in a positive way:
- Listen before you react
If someone is taking the time to give you feedback, hear them out carefully before you react to what they are saying. Don't get defensive or try to argue with the person—just focus on understanding their perspective and what they're trying to say.
- Seek to understand their perspective
Engage in the conversation, and ask questions if you need to clarify what they mean. This not only demonstrates your respect for their opinion, it shows that you want to understand their point of view, and are willing to make changes where needed.
- Don’t take it personally
Acknowledge that while there are areas where your work may need improvement, this is not a reflection of your value as a person. It’s an opportunity for you to improve your skills and processes.
- Commit to taking action
Keep track of any suggestions or advice given so that you can use them in future projects or tasks instead of having them go forgotten or ignored. This could include making notes after a meeting, emailing yourself reminders, creating a spreadsheet, etc.—find what works best for you. Create an action plan with specific steps that will help fix the issue at hand (and prevent it from happening again).
- Express gratitude
If someone has taken the time to evaluate your work - thank them. Even if they give you feedback that you didn’t see coming or don’t agree with. If you get defensive or don’t show appreciation, you’re unlikely to get honest (or any) feedback from this person in the future.
6 Focus on why feedback is important
While some constructive criticism can feel like a hard pill to swallow, remember that it’s meant as an opportunity for growth. Rather than dwelling on past mistakes, use the feedback to move forward positively towards achieving professional goals in your career.
When used correctly, constructive criticism can be your secret weapon in the pursuit of success. It can provide you with valuable insight and guidance to help you develop personally and professionally—so make sure you take the time to listen and learn from it. With a little practice, soon enough, you’ll turn this feedback into a powerful tool for your own growth and success.
Are you finding it difficult to advance your career?
If you're finding it difficult to grow your business or advance in your career, even after taking criticism on board, it might be time to strengthen your credentials. You've got the experience. Now it's time to get the qualifications. Take our 60 Second Skills test to find out how Recognition of Prior Learning can help you get certified for the skills you already have.