4 Reasons Why You're Getting Criticism At Work And What You Can Do About It

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women at working learning to accept criticism

A common fear you may have, as a leader or aspiring leader, is the anticipation of hearing from critics and handling criticism.

After you express your opinion and step into the role of a thought leader, give advice, comment on a post, or be interviewed as an expert, there's a risk you'll face pushback.

You may have the tendency to hold back what you want to say or to stay small or safe so that you won’t have to open yourself up to that criticism.

It's important to learn how to accept criticism and listen to feedback.

How can criticism be of great value to you, in your personal and professional life?

What's behind those responses and how do you gain value from them?

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Why is criticism often delivered so negatively?

Constructive criticism is a source of valuable information that allows you to grow personally and professionally, gain more credibility, and fine-tune your expertise.

Your initial reaction may be to cringe at the sight of it and get defensive when you receive comments that aren't positive. 

When someone gives you feedback, they’re doing it for a reason. But, their feedback can be perceived as negative because of their emotionally charged reaction to your message.

Instead of taking the time to formulate a clear question or articulating their point of view, they may lash out at you, mostly because you connected with them on a personal level that made them aware of something they're dissatisfied with or that conflicts with their beliefs. 

If you determine why they're compelled to comment, then you can take a potentially negative situation and turn it into insight that will help you improve.

Here are 4 reasons why people may criticize you.

1. They’re seeking more clarity. 

What you said wasn’t enough for them to make a decision about what to do with your information. They relate to your message but need more direction or advice to help with the next step.

Therefore, they're frustrated.

2. What you said doesn’t align with their beliefs. 

They come to the table with different information and experiences that, to them, are true and familiar.

When you say something that isn’t in alignment with their beliefs, they disagree and want to challenge you.

3. They feel dismissed and not important. 

One of the most pressing human needs is to feel important to someone else.

If someone feels that this need isn’t being met, they’ll speak up to gain attention so they feel important and noticed. 

4. Your success is a reflection of them. 

They see you as a success and start to compare their level of success to yours. You may have reminded them that they haven’t achieved what they wanted to, and this makes them feel like a failure.

So, instead of building you up and supporting you, they choose to bring you down to make them feel better about themselves and to look successful.

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When you learn how to accept criticism, you must ask yourself these 4 questions in order to benefit from negative feedback.

"What is this person hoping to achieve by sending this message?"

"Where can I be more clear in my communication?"

"What can I learn from the message that’s being conveyed?"

"How can we use this information to grow or improve?"

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Feedback is like gold, and if you see it as valuable instead of judgmental, then you can use it to your benefit. 

Receiving feedback is a gift from someone else who cares enough to tell you that something is wrong. It lets you know what you’re doing right and where you can improve.

It's better to get negative feedback than no feedback at all

By communicating a more defined message, you're able to generate value.

If you remain vague and safe in your messages, then you confuse the listener and don’t provide any value. You fail to connect.

People want to experience your message, they want to relate to it, and to you. Don’t deny them that opportunity.

When you create an authentic experience that'll connect you to your audience on a deeper level, then you’ll be seen as a more transparent leader.

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Christine Hourd, ACC is a Certified Professional Success and Leadership Coach, located in Calgary, Alberta. She works with people who want to change their mindset in favor of enjoying more positive experiences. To find out more, book a consultation on her website.

This article was originally published at The Success Model. Reprinted with permission from the author.