When we take risks in our jobs, we are bound to make a few mistakes or do things in a way that a superior may want done differently. It’s how an employee reacts to creative criticism that says something about their character and how they can move forward and grow as an employee. On the other hand, it’s a wise employee who recognizes that some criticism has no real benefit other than to say something negative and to leave it ignored.
- Know the difference. Constructive criticism helps you grow as a person or an employee. It references a behavior or product you have created and suggests how you can improve. Granted, it’s still not easy to hear — most of us don’t want to hear what we did “wrong” — but it’s meant to help you do better next time. Destructive criticism, on the other hand, attacks the person and makes commentary on what the criticizer considers personal shortcomings. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, destructive criticism breaks you down instead of building you up.
- Take constructive criticism for what it is. It is not meant as a personal attack — someone has observed something you’ve done at work and has given suggestions for positive change. Keep this in mind, particularly when you have worked extremely hard on something only to have an employer “pull it apart.” Recognize that most of the time it comes from someone with good intentions who truly wishes you to do better at your job.
- Respond graciously. Take a quiet breath, listen carefully, and ask for specifics on what you could do to improve. Repeat back what you have heard and ask for any clarification with the intention that you truly want to do better and grow in your position. Keep in mind that the person giving the criticism may feel a bit nervous, so asking for details lets them know you’re willing to listen and you want the help. You may even want to ask for suggestions. Rather than showing weakness, this shows you have the strength to recognize when you need help and the intelligence to ask for it.
- Take comments in stride. When the destructive criticism comes along, keep your reaction measured rather than blow up and bring on a negative impression. Don’t rise to the bait; this shows strength of character. Let nasty criticism roll off your back. That doesn’t mean you have to sit and quietly take abuse; if someone attacks you personally, ask that person to give you specifics so they focus on performance rather than you as a person.
No matter what we think, all of us need help and improvement from time to time. Take constructive criticism and use it to make yourself even better at what you do. Reach out to the medical staffing experts at Medical Professionals to discuss your job search or career today