How to handle criticism at work

How to handle criticism at work

If you struggle with handling criticism, don’t worry, we understand it’s not easy to take on the chin. There is value in constructive criticism and you can turn this into an opportunity to get as much feedback as you can and improve. How can you improve and progress if you don’t know what areas and skills you need to improve on?

It takes good practice to handle it calmly and professionally, see the below tips that will ensure you respond to the situation in a positive manner:


Listen to what is being said and take every word in. A common mistake for a first response is going into a defensive mode without actually understanding why the opposite person is giving this feedback.

Don’t take it personally

It’s feedback on your work, not a criticism of you as a person. Sure, it will hurt sometimes but this type of feedback can be turned into a positive and it is an opportunity to show your employer how professional you are and that you do in-fact have the skills to excel in your role.

Ask questions

Once you’ve taken in all the information, ask questions and find out what their expectations are and their suggestions on how you can do your job better. If they are criticising you for something you thought you did well, ask them what they didn’t like about it. Perhaps it’s not even criticism but simply just some feedback they are giving you.

Say thank you

Don’t forget to thank them for their time in giving you this criticism. They will appreciate it and you will come across as professional and this will show them you are actually understanding and appreciating their feedback. Let them know that you want to receive feedback regularly as you are committed to improving yourself.


Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you were really terrible at your job the consequences would be more severe. There is a lesson that can be learnt from this criticism and it can be applied into your work and yourself to not only make you better at your job, but also as a person. Think about what their expectations are and create a plan around that, show them that you are willing to go the extra mile and prove you are an asset to the organisation.

All successful people have made mistakes and have been criticised over and over again, which is why they are successful; because they knew what areas they needed to improve on. Handling constructive criticism takes a strong person to accept, however we can all accept criticism if we know what to do with it and how to learn from it.

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