Personal Skills – Taking Criticism

Man being scolded by his shadow

Very often the very word criticism inflicts fear in our heart as criticism is associated with the feelings of humiliation, puts us on the defensive and may compel us to resort to anger.

However, taking criticism and that too positively is necessary for anyone who wishes to improve. Let’s take a look into how to take criticism positively and with grace.

1)  Don’t allow yourself to Switch to the Defensive Mode

First of all refrain from switching to a defensive mode. Though you by default are likely to switch to a defensive mode don’t let it happen. Similarly, refuse the urge to start offering explanations and excuses the minute the other person opens his/her mouth.

2)  Don’t Interfere

Similar to resisting the urge of offering explanations and excuses resist the urge to interfere while the other person is speaking. Allow the other person to finish uninterrupted.

3)  Manage your Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication

Remember that you don’t only speak through your words as your body language and non verbal communication also give away a lot about your inner feelings. Therefore, learn to manage your body language and your non-verbal communication. Avoid moving excessively and try to retain your posture

4)  Focus on Listening

Focus on listening whether or not you agree with what is being said. Listen carefully not merely with the intent of replying but with the intent of understanding what is being said.

5)  Keep Calm and maintain it

Since you are likely to lose patience make sure that you keep calm and most importantly maintain it.

6)  Maintain Grace throughout the Listening Process

It is more important to maintain your grace and your integrity rather than defending yourself in a manner that is not up to par.

7)  Seek Permission to Offer your Side of the Story

Since you are avoiding the urge to interfere and interject it is better to wait till the person is done. However, if you deem it necessary to interject make sure that you do it in the utmost professional and polite manner.

While assuring that your tone is utmost polite and does not reflect anger or resentment seek permission to speak. Start with expressing your gratitude for having taken out the time to offer you feedback.

8)  Address all the Points

If you have listened carefully and attentively then you are more than likely to remember all that was said. Avoid getting into a debate or raising your voice. Ask for specific examples that have led to criticism of your behavior and refuse to answer the generalized opinions.

9)  Ask for Suggestions

Ask for suggestions that in the point of view of the person can bring about an improvement in you.

Offer Assurance

Towards the last offer take the opportunity to thank the person once again for offering feedback and offer sincere assurance that you will give due consideration to all that was said during the conversation.


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