How to Accept A Colleague’s Criticism

Step 1


Lower your defenses. Defensiveness will only cloud your judgment, making it more difficult for you to identify the defining characteristics of your colleague’s criticism. Remember that their criticism isn’t a personal attack. See their comments merely as their own observations and assume that they’re coming from a good place.

You might feel defensive at first, but remind yourself it’s not personal. Be willing to see things from their perspective.

Step 2


Take some time to process the criticism. It is natural to have an emotional reaction to judgment, even if that judgment comes in the form of constructive criticism. Therefore, in order to accept criticism and handle it effectively, you should give yourself some time to reflect on what was said. Take the opportunity as a chance for growth.

Don’t feel pressured to respond right away. Say, “Thank you” and walk away.

Step 3


Stay calm. Whether you’re speaking or listening to their critique, try to stay calm. Even if you feel defensive, using a calm state of mind can help you from saying something that could potentially backfire or hurt you in the future. Staying calm helps you listen and produce a logical response instead of an emotional response.

Before you react, take a few deep breaths to lower your heart rate and feel more centered.

Step 4


Acknowledge that you understood them. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the criticism, letting the speaker know that you received the message lays the groundwork for resolution and, ultimately, accepting criticism. It removes the power from the speaker and makes you accountable for handling the criticism in your own way.

Say, “I hear what you’re saying. You’d like me to complete tasks on deadline.”



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