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Taking Criticism from Your Supervisors – the Right Way

Previously, we talked about why it is important for leaders to learn to criticize their employees the right away.

As we mentioned, the word “criticize” always seems to get a bad rap, bringing to mind negative connotations and in turn, putting leaders in a bind when it comes to properly addressing an issue, for fear of offending or putting down their employees.

But, leaders aren’t entirely to blame-criticism is a two-way process-which is why today, we’re going to talk about the right way for employees to take criticism from their supervisors. Take a look below:

Listen carefully

First things, first: you need to listen to what is being said. Hearing out your team leader is the first big step to taking criticism. Sure, in some instances the criticism may be unwarranted, but if you aren’t listening to what they are saying, how would you be able to defend yourself, especially when you don’t even know what you are being criticized for?

Think first, feel later (read: be objective)

Rather than jump the gun and say to yourself “how dare they!”, consider why your team leader is coming to you in the first place, and isolate the issue before coming to any conclusions. We’re not saying you shouldn’t take what they say personally-it does, after all, concern how you work-but in order to make sense of what is being said, you need to think about the criticism in regards to the company as a whole.

For example, if your team leader sees that you aren’t being as thorough as you should be on a project and speaks up about it, consider why they brought it up in the first place. Perhaps it is a group project, which means that the work you are putting together has the potential to negatively affect the work the rest of the group is doing.

Considering the main issue at hand helps to avoid any future problems, shows that you are willing to grow as an individual, and prevents you from letting down your peers simply because you weren’t willing to take a valid criticism.

Ask questions

Sometimes, it can be hard to see the big picture, or why your team leader is coming to you in the first place. In instances such as these, it’s always a good idea to ask questions, especially specifics.

Not only does this help you determine the real issue, but it shows your team leader that you are willing to do whatever it takes remedy the situation. Perhaps it may even help you both realize that you weren’t responsible for the problem in the first place, helping alleviate the situation.

Not all criticism is bad criticism. In fact, we think it should mean an opportunity for improvement, and one way to help ensure that is by making sure you take the proper steps to address your critics and what they have to say. If you don’t, you’ll never learn from the experience, so take your criticism in stride and work towards being a better employee.

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Return to July 2014 Newsletter

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Chattanooga Area Chapter of ATD
P.O. Box 28214
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