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Simple Ways to Effectively Handle Tough Criticism From a Superior at Work

Mansurat is a creative writer and healthy culture enthusiast. Her works covers topics that promote healthy and happy living.


Understanding why Criticism Hurts so Bad

As humans, so long as we live, we are bound to receive criticism which can be positive or negative. We get criticism everywhere but for this article, we will be focusing on the workplace.

Criticisms are not supposed to hurt when done right. The issue is, majority of humans have a hard time communicating properly. Now, when that human happens to be your boss or client, you have to swallow whatever pill is thrown at you.

The appropriate way of tendering feedback on a project is, first of all, acknowledging all that has been done well and commending it. Then, areas that need attention and possible changes are highlighted. This form of criticism is known as constructive criticism. The goal is usually achieved.

However, a blanket complaint that makes it look like the work is exceptionally poor with no good side and no clear direction on how to fix it is destructive criticism. This sometimes includes an attack on the abilities of the worker. For people who give their all to the work they do, this kind of criticism is unfair. And, it should hurt.

Also, If you realize the feedback was very professional and constructive, yet it still hurts badly, it could be a sign of an underlying emotional wound.

Having said all of this, let's quickly look at how to solve the problem at hand.

Try not to Show Your Emotions


Remember, you are not reacting badly if the criticism has been done badly. However, you need to comport yourself. A quick response will most likely throw you off balance and you may overreact.

So, even if you feel like being defensive or lashing out, hold yourself back. Hold your words in. Listen quietly and let the words flow.

Detach from the words being thrown at you as much as possible. This may be hard in the heat of the moment but try. You would be glad you did.

Act Gracefully


It would be easier to let go later if you let things slide. Resist the desire to speak up. Try to put on a straight face and remain attentive.

You can choose to stop working for a company or client but a bad review will continue to affect your work profile for as long as possible.

Acting gracefully is the lesser of two evils. Obviously.

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Say You're Sorry Even When You're not


Of course, after an awful criticism, very few people will be sorry. But, in the corporate world, it's the polite thing to do.

Accept the criticism and tender a believable apology. After doing this, you would be able to take the bull by the horn and control the situation.

Admit the Errors Highlighted


Treat the speaker how they want to be treated. Usually, negative people are carrying a lot of baggage to the new situation. This does not serve as a pass for their bad behavior but a way to help you free yourself.

Tell them you understand their complaints and would fix them. Be sure to get enough clarity before making such a promise.

Freelancers and contractors could reach an agreement on how revisions will be done. Full-time employees may find it harder to get a quick exit. Understand what they want and try to dance to their tunes.

What's Next?


After putting up such an act, the least you can do for yourself is get a break. Next, you need to design a strategy to avoid such a client in the future. Full-time employees may be looking forward to a resignation to work with another company. Whatever choice you make, ensure your finances would not suffer during the transition.

Healing from an Underlying Wound

An underlying wound makes receiving any kind of criticism hard. This can make your work-life very stressful. The good news is, there is a way around this.

Good old meditation works. Simple breathing exercises will get you to the dungeons of your mind. Think about situations in the past that could be affecting you now. Did you ever have an overtly critical guardian or teacher?

Write out your feelings on paper and burn them. You can also try positive affirmations. If you feel you cannot handle your emotions by yourself, reach out to a professional therapist.

What are the Effects of Constant Criticism?

Constant criticism at work will have serious effects on your mental health.

People who are self-employed need to create a client avatar. By sticking to it, you would never have to work with a client with communication problems.

Full-time workers should be sure a company provides a healthy work environment before choosing to work for them. If the company falls short in this regard, it would be best to start the hunt for a new employer early.

You offer value therefore you deserve valuable treatment. It's a basic right.

© 2021 Mansurat Zakari

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