How to Handle Criticism in Your Career

Dale Carnegie once said, “When you are kicked or criticized, remember that it is often done because it gives the kicker a feeling of importance. It often means that you are accomplishing something and worthy of attention.” Profound words indeed! When criticism is valid and given appropriately, it can provide you with new insights about yourself in order to grow as a career professional.

In the moment, it’s never easy to hear negative feedback about your work – an idea that you have or an objection that you raise.   However, many Los Angeles career coaches agree that there are ways to deal with negative comments from your boss, co-workers, clients or colleagues:

  • Keep your emotions in check. When most people hear a negative comment, their first reaction is to defend themselves. The key is to avoid getting emotional. Listen and take the information in.
  • Consider the source.  Where is this criticism coming from? Your boss who is in a bad mood, a jealous co-worker or a colleague who may be speaking from a personal experience?  Consider if the criticism is really about you or something else. In addition, depending on what the criticism is about, consider it as a growth opportunity for your career.
  • Ask questions. Make sure you asked the person giving the criticism for specific examples of what they felt was wrong with your performance, idea, project, etc. This will help give you clarity about the criticism and determine whether or not it is valid.
  • Focus on what’s helpful for you and throw out the BS. Try to find value in what is being said to you.
  • Say thank you and keep it moving. Consider feedback – whether negative or positive – as better than no feedback at all.  The criticizer has taken time to seek you out to give you advice. Take in the information, thank the person and don’t fester with anger (if the advice was negative). Move on and continue to do the very best job you can.

Dealing with criticism in your career is not easy.  But by handling criticism in a professional and mature way, you will not only move up the career ladder faster, it will show others your strength, courage and fearlessness in taking on any adverse challenge.

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