Career Masterclass: Deal with criticism

Want tips on how to deal with criticism? Here's a few pointers.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Ask for it. Avoid an ambush by having regular performance catch-ups with your manager. The truth may hurt, but the sooner you hear it, the sooner you can fix it.

Keep calm and quiet. Don't interrupt critics with excuses (you'll look defensive) and don't glower (you could stop them sharing a crucial insight). Instead, be neutral and encouraging, and focus on hearing and memorising everything they say.

Reframe. See criticism as proof the other person cares. Why else would he spend time and energy telling you how to improve?

Clarify. The more specific criticism is, the more helpful it is.

If you don't agree or understand, delve deeper with questions. Find out exactly what you did and how it caused a problem, then summarise back to show you've taken it all in.

Pick your battles. Criticism is rarely groundless but often exaggerated. From the hyperbolic overview ('your client meetings are never successful'), select the elements you have the power to change ('you're often unprepared').

Say thank you. Welcoming feedback not only means you'll receive more (and so improve faster) but your popularity will be boosted. It shows confidence, dedication and grace, too.

Ask critics for advice. If you can stomach the home truths, turning your critic into your coach will fend off future attacks.

Switch on your filter. If a critic's comments seem irrational or emotional, ignore them. You are not a punchbag.

Bounce back. Spend time with someone who thinks you're great, whether it's an old client, colleague or adoring partner.

Learn. How will you handle criticism next time? Write down three things you have learnt. Remember them. Move on.

- The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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