Giving and receiving feedback is a part and parcel of every appraisal cycle at work annually. In a healthy work environment, feedback is shared at regular intervals. But conversations can even turn sour if either the criticism is vindictive rather than constructive or if feedback is not taken in the right stride. Be it to grow personally or professionally, knowing how to deal with constructive criticism is very important. It can almost make you or break you.
An annual performance review at work is an exercise meant to provide feedback to help employees and managers improve and develop their skills. While anticipating the experience can cause appraisal anxiety among some people, especially those with a toxic boss, here’s something to calm your nerves!
“When harnessed effectively, constructive criticism can lead to ground-breaking advancements, new opportunities and a more fulfilling life. It helps us recognize areas for improvement, develop new skills, and become more efficient and competent individuals. Learning how to receive and assimilate this type of feedback is necessary for everyone, as it paves the way for growth, change and success,” life coach Dr Chandni Tugnait, Founder and Director – Gateway of Healing, tells Health Shots.
We may like it or not, but receiving constructive criticism creates self-awareness and encourages continuous learning. It also helps us explore new perspectives, identify blind spots and modify our approach.
Difference between negative feedback and constructive criticism
According to Dr Tugnait, negative feedback is often vague, subjective and focused on personal attacks or shortcomings without offering guidance for improvement. On the other hand, constructive criticism is specific and measurable, actionable, with straightforward suggestions for improvement, highlighting strengths and growth areas.
Benefits of constructive criticism at work
Receiving actionable feedback from your manager or employers can go a long way in improving your productivity at work. Even they should be aware of and invested in the importance of happy employees. So, here are the different ways in which constructive criticism can be good!
* It promotes self-improvement and skill development
* It encourages open communication and fosters effective relationships
* It helps to uncover blind spots in performance and behaviour
* It enables us to learn from other’s perspectives and experiences
* It facilitates change and drives innovation
Also read: Love to hate your boss? 6 ways to deal with a difficult boss at work
Tips to deal with constructive criticism at work
Being present in the moment when you receive performance feedback is not enough. Partake in the experience and ensure there are takeaways for you when you sit across the table from your manager will help you take constructive criticism positively.
Let’s take a look at some of the top tips from Dr Chandni Tugnait on handling constructive criticism.
1. Listen actively
Pay full attention to the person offering feedback, avoid interrupting and ask for clarifications when necessary. Listening actively demonstrates that you value their input and are open to understanding their perspective.
2. Stay open-minded
Acknowledge that there is always room for improvement and that feedback can be a valuable source of learning. Keep your ego in check and avoid becoming defensive when receiving criticism.
Also read: 5 ways to stop getting defensive and communicate better
3. Reflect on the feedback
Take the time to consider the feedback’s validity and potential value. Evaluate how it aligns with your goals, whether it identifies areas for improvement, and whether it comes from a well-informed point of view.
4. Create an action plan
Identify concrete steps and goals in response to the criticism received. An action plan enables you to implement the feedback, hold yourself accountable and track your progress regarding improvement.
5. Thank your critic
Express gratitude for the feedback, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. A simple “thank you” can promote healthy dialogue, maintain positive relationships and encourage future input.
Remember, embracing constructive criticism catalyses progress in one’s career aspirations and promotes self-awareness, adaptability and resilience.