The giving and receiving of feedback is how we better ourselves. For as long as we’ve been sharing our work with others, we have been getting feedback on it. Sometimes the feedback is positive, letting you know what you have done right, what works and that you’re heading in the right direction. Other feedback is more negative, pointing out problems with our work, showing us where we went wrong. Guess which type is more helpful?
Receiving positive feedback is easy, it’s the criticism that can be hard to take. However, this is the feedback that helps you to grow. The trick is to be able to take the criticism and turn it into something positive. Here’s how:
Understand it’s not personal.
The most common thing that will interfere with using criticism to your advantage is taking it too personal. Too often people feel that any negativity directed towards their work is an attack on them personally. They get offended and they fail to take away any positives from the experience. It’s true that some people can deliver criticism too harshly, and if that’s the case then you can speak to them about that problem, but in most cases the one giving you criticism is not trying to be helpful. Remove personal feelings from the equation and understand you are not being attacked.
Coming to the realization that this is not a personal issue is the first step, but then you have to bring yourself to actually take in the criticism. It can be very hard and embarrassing to have you work criticized. It such moments it can be hard to focus on anything, but you should take this as an opportunity and hear what the criticisms are. Understand the issues they are bringing up and don’t let your emotions block out the feedback.
Don’t pass blame or make excuses.
While some don’t take criticism well, there are some who can’t seem to take it at all. When faced him criticism, they try to avoid being the target and pass the blame on to someone else. We’ve all been there, and in some cases we might be right that we don’t deserve all the blame, but there’s no point in making excuses and trying to escape the criticism. You had some part in the work and you are the one who was given the criticism, you might as well be the one to hear it out.
Just because you need to know how to accept criticism doesn’t mean you have to do it without question. On the contrary, you should certainly question any feedback you get. It’s not confrontational nor combative, it’s simply a way of putting everyone on the same page. Ask for more detail, clarifications and examples when given criticism. There’s no point in getting feedback if you don’t understand it.
Don’t take it as a defeat.
Criticism is meant to be something that helps to improve your work, so don’t take it as something that hurts your work. If you receive criticism it doesn’t mean all previous and future work of yours is poor, it doesn’t mean you aren’t good at your job and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever take any risks again in your work. See the moment for what it is, an opportunity for growth, and move on.
Always follow-up with feedback to see if you’re back moving in the right direction or if you need a little bit more recalibration. It’s a great way to bounce back from the criticism and prove to yourself that you are still able to put good work out there.