Learning from Constructive Criticism

Even when packaged politely, having your shortcomings called out doesn’t feel great. You know you’re not perfect, but constructive criticism always stings a bit. However, this feedback is a fantastic learning tool, so you need to learn how to use it effectively.

Many people don’t have this ability, so you’ll enjoy a competitive advantage if you can push your feelings to the side and focus on the positive aspects of constructive criticism. Being critiqued is definitely humbling, but it will help you become your very best self.

How to Handle Constructive Criticism

Don’t Take it Personally

Even when you know constructive criticism is spot-on, it can still feel like a personal attack. It’s hard to sit through a conversation focused on things you could do better, but grin and bear it. In most cases, the person giving the feedback truly wants to help you learn and grow. Becoming upset or defensive will only make you appear unapproachable, so swallow your pride and realize the other person isn’t trying to hurt you.

Listen Carefully

As a defensive mechanism, your first instinct might be to close your ears to constructive criticism, but that only hurts you in the long run. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can be incredibly valuable. Some comments will be more helpful than others, but opening your mind to another perspective will help you make positive changes.

Ask Questions

You want to get as much as possible from this conversation, so if you need more details to understand exactly what you did wrong, don’t be afraid to ask. Let the other person know you sincerely want to improve, so the more details they can provide the better. If you’re not quite sure how to improve your performance, ask them for advice.

Say Thank You

Even if you don’t agree with everything the other person said, offer a sincere thank you for their honesty. For many people, giving constructive criticism is even harder than receiving it, so they might be even more flustered than you. Look the person in the eye and offer a genuine thank you for having the courage to deliver less-than-flattering feedback, despite not knowing how you’d react.

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