Criticism is not something anyone can really avoid in life, particularly in the workplace, where many people are forced to spend on average around 35 hours a week together in a confined space. Especially in today’s difficult financial climate with high unemployment and a greater threat of being made redundant, increased stress and tension at work undoubtedly result in more criticism, which can result in lowered morale.
Criticism can fall into one of two categories, including constructive criticism and unnecessary criticism. The former is useful when executed correctly in helping those in training learn how to improve and better understand what is expected of them. However, suppose the criticism is undeserved or mishandled, such as shouting or reprimanding a person. In that case, this is likely to have the opposite effect and cause an increase in tension and conflict within the workplace.
It is important to remember that criticism does not have to be negative and can raise the bar higher and a catalyst for career progression and motivation to do better. Defined, criticism may include factors such as one’s work, appearance, and ideas being evaluated by another person or group of people.
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Time Management and Workplace Criticism
A significant positive associated with criticism in the workplace is helping employees save time through learning quicker or more effective ways to approach new tasks and projects. For example, one is offered constructive criticism following the completion of a specific job. This may be taken on board and used to make completing similar or the same tasks much simpler in the future.
Learning from mistakes, however minor or significant, will undoubtedly be a practical time management skill. This also saves the time of managers who would otherwise have to stop their work to correct the same issues repeatedly. As time costs money, the ability to handle criticism will impact both efficiency and productivity.
Communication Skills Help to Handle Criticism
Good communication skills are essential to both the person doing the criticizing and the individual being criticized. Active listening is important, as is being able to recognize non-verbal signs of communication. No matter how much one disagrees with what is being said, showing that one is actively listening will likely help the other person be less frustrated and hopefully decrease the likelihood of a minor situation escalating to a significant workplace conflict.
Key Ways to Handle Undeserved and Constructive Criticism
If criticism falls into the undeserved category, having actively listened to the other individual, it is best to try to let it go and not hold resentment. This is by no means easy, but it will save a lot of hassle in the short and long term. Try to accept constructive criticism as a learning tool that may benefit one in terms of career progression and hopefully improve job satisfaction in a long time.
Learning never stops, so viewing constructive criticism as a learning process rather than getting irritated, frustrated, or demotivated will help reduce unnecessary stress and create a more pleasant working environment.
As highlighted above, criticism is common to all, and when it is constructive, it may be used to an individual’s advantage rather than cause upset. Key areas related to coping with criticism include effective communication and time management skills.