Performance Reviews: Handling Criticism

Handling criticism can be a challenge for many people. When you receive criticism, whether from a peer or supervisor, make sure to listen and avoid getting defensive. If you don’t agree with or understand with the criticism, ask questions for clarification. Always say thank you and take time to think over the criticism. If someone gives you an honest suggestion, you will most likely benefit from making the change. You can always try it and see how it goes. After all, if your goal is to improve and grow as a professional, you should be accepting of constructive criticism.

Here are five tips for handling criticism:

  1. Listen with an open mind
  2. Don’t take it personally
  3. Ask questions for clarification
  4. Say thank you
  5. Make the change

Listen with an open mind

Since the goal of your performance review is to help you improve yourself and your work, you are bound to hear some ways you can improve. When you listen to these suggestions from your supervisor, don’t get defensive or make excuses. The best thing you can do is listen with an open mind and ask for input on ways to improve. After the meeting, consider what was said and if it truly is something you can work on and do better.

Don’t take it personally

It can be difficult to hear criticism from your supervisor. The most important thing to remember is to not take it personally! This can be difficult to do, especially when the criticism is unexpected or untrue. But, remember that it is not about you personally. It is about a chance to improve yourself and to become a better employee.

Remember to show professionalism when receiving criticism. It can help to take a deep breath, remain calm and listen to what your supervisor suggests. Sometimes criticism from your supervisor is due to other factors that are not related to you. Bosses are people, too, and have their own bad days. Try to remove yourself from the situation and not get bent out of shape over a couple of comments.

Ask questions for clarification

Remember that the goal of performance reviews is to help you make your performance better. Like it or not, constructive criticism plays a large part in this goal. If you hear criticism that confuses you, make sure to clarify what your supervisor means. Asking questions for clarification will help you understand where your supervisor is coming from and what exactly she wants you to improve. After all, you can’t improve if you don’t know what specifically you should improve.

Say thank you

Remember to always say thank you for the constructive criticism. This may be hard to do at times, but once you practice and make it a habit, it will come easier. Make sure to look your supervisor in the eyes and thank him or her for the feedback. Be deliberate and say, “I really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with me.” This expression of appreciation doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with the criticism, but it does show that you acknowledge the effort taken to evaluate you. And you can always learn something from it.

Make the change

Now that you know what your supervisor thinks of you and your job performance, you have some work to do. You should make the changes suggested by your supervisor. You may not agree with all the changes that were suggested to you, but you should try to make them. Either they will improve your work, or you will learn which way really does work better. In any case, you should have an open mind and attempt the changes asked of you. This will show that you are willing to listen, learn and develop in your career.

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About the Author:

Anna is a copywriter at The Conover Company. She graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in Elementary Education. She enjoys researching and writing about soft skills and has seen first-hand the difference that soft skills make in the world of education. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters.

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