People who handle criticism well often practice these 9 habits

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | April 23, 2024, 6:08 am

Handling criticism, let’s face it, is not easy. It’s an art that some people have mastered through years of practice and patience.

These folks don’t just take criticism in stride; they use it as a stepping stone to improve and grow. They have certain habits that set them apart from the rest.

By practicing these habits, you too can learn to handle criticism well. Here are nine of them that people who handle criticism well often practise. So, sit back, and get ready to change the way you perceive criticism.

1) They don’t take criticism personally

Let’s start with the most fundamental habit: not taking criticism personally.

People who handle criticism well understand that criticism is about their actions or behaviors, not about them as individuals.

When faced with criticism, they don’t react defensively. Instead, they separate themselves from the situation and view the feedback objectively.

This habit isn’t something that comes naturally to many of us. It takes practice and a lot of self-awareness. But once you get the hang of it, it makes handling criticism much easier.

Remember, criticism is an opportunity for improvement – not a personal attack. And mastering this habit can turn every piece of criticism into a chance for personal growth.

2) They ask for clarification

Another habit I’ve noticed in people who handle criticism well is their willingness to ask for clarification.

In my own experience, I once received feedback from a colleague on a project. Instead of just accepting their criticism, I asked for specific examples and further explanation. This allowed me to fully understand their perspective and what they believed needed improvement.

Asking for clarification not only ensures you fully understand the criticism, but it also shows the person giving the feedback that you value their opinion. It’s a constructive way to handle criticism that leads to better understanding and improvement.

3) They reflect before responding

In the heat of the moment, our instinctive reaction might be to defend ourselves immediately when faced with criticism. However, people who handle criticism well often fight this impulse.

Studies have shown that our emotional responses can cloud our judgment. When we feel attacked, our brains tend to go into defense mode and we’re less likely to think clearly and rationally.

That’s why it’s important to take a moment to reflect before responding to criticism. This pause allows you to process the feedback and approach it with a calmer and more rational mindset, thus enabling you to respond more effectively.

4) They focus on the solution, not the problem

People who handle criticism well have a unique ability to shift their focus from the problem to the solution.

When they receive negative feedback, they don’t dwell on the issue at hand. Instead, they immediately start thinking about ways to improve and rectify the situation.

This habit is particularly beneficial as it turns a potentially negative experience into a positive one. It’s not about what went wrong, but about how to make it right. This shift in perspective can make all the difference in effectively handling criticism.

5) They show gratitude for the feedback

This might seem counterintuitive, but people who handle criticism well often express gratitude for the feedback.

They understand that criticism, when given constructively, is a tool for growth and improvement. Therefore, they appreciate the time and effort someone has invested in providing them with feedback.

Saying a simple “Thank you for your feedback” can go a long way. It shows maturity, professionalism and an openness to learning. Plus, it helps to foster a positive environment where constructive criticism is welcomed and valued.

6) They don’t dwell on the criticism

We’ve all been there: a piece of criticism lands harder than expected, and we find ourselves replaying it in our minds over and over again. But people who handle criticism well? They have a knack for letting things go.

This doesn’t mean they dismiss the criticism outright. Instead, they take it in, learn from it, and then move forward without letting it weigh them down.

In essence, they understand that everyone makes mistakes, and no one is defined by them. What truly counts is how we learn and grow from these experiences. This heartfelt understanding allows them to shake off the negative emotions associated with criticism and continue their journey with a positive outlook.

7) They seek out criticism

This is a tough one, even for me. Seeking out criticism can feel like willingly walking into a lion’s den. But guess what? The people who handle criticism best actually make it a point to do this.

They believe in the principle of “no pain, no gain.” They proactively seek feedback and criticism because they know it’s the best way to identify their blind spots and areas for improvement.

During my early career, I used to dread performance reviews. However, over time, I realized that these sessions were valuable opportunities for me to learn and grow. Now, I make it a point to request feedback even outside of these formal reviews. It’s not always easy to hear, but it’s essential for my development.

8) They look at the bigger picture

People who handle criticism well have a knack for seeing the bigger picture. They understand that criticism is just a small piece of their overall journey.

Instead of letting feedback make or break them, they see it as a single step in their larger path towards growth and improvement. This allows them to put criticism in perspective and not get overwhelmed by it.

Remember, one piece of criticism does not define you or your capabilities. It’s just a single brushstroke in the larger painting of your life and career. By keeping this bigger picture in mind, you can take criticism in stride and use it as a tool for growth.

9) They use criticism as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block

The most important thing to understand about handling criticism is this: criticism is not an end, but a beginning. It’s not a wall, but a door. It’s not a stumbling block, but a stepping stone.

People who handle criticism well use it as a springboard for growth. They don’t let it hold them back; they use it to propel themselves forward. They take each piece of criticism and turn it into an opportunity for improvement.

And that’s the key. When you start viewing criticism as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, you’ll find that it becomes much easier to handle. And not just handle, but truly benefit from it.

Final thoughts: It’s all about growth

Our ability to handle criticism is intimately tied to our personal growth and development.

Psychology tells us that our response to criticism is often a reflection of our self-esteem and self-worth. Those who see criticism as a learning opportunity, rather than a personal attack, tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence.

Remember, nobody is perfect, and everyone has room for improvement. The most successful people in the world didn’t get there by avoiding criticism. Instead, they welcomed it as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

When we embrace criticism with an open heart and mind, we not only learn about our weaknesses but also discover our hidden strengths.

So next time you face criticism, remember these nine habits. They may just be the stepping stones you need to transform criticism into your greatest ally for success and personal growth.

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