We don’t like to hear when people have bad things to say about our work or even ourselves. It triggers something within that raises our defense barriers. We make excuses for why we did what we did. But, when used correctly, criticism can be a great tool to help you improve and grow. We should be asking for criticism, but in the ask, it is important to understand that there are 2 types of criticism according to Connor Grooms. Connor states:

Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is the type of criticism that every great person seeks out. If you are trying to improve yourself, hearing how good you are at something isn’t helpful. It’s nice to hear, sure, but what is the person chasing excellence wants to know is, “what could I do better?”

Constructive criticism answers this question. It’s well thought out, objective, and the critic gives it with a level head. If the criticism is accurate, then it helps you improve. If the criticism is inaccurate, then you either learn what made the person see things that way or ignore it.

Projected Criticism

Projected criticism is an emotional, negative reaction to something you’ve said or done. If someone rants about how irresponsible you are, it’s because something you did emotionally threatened them. Projected criticism is simply a projection of a person’s psyche. It’s the result of envy, insecurity, or anger. It says more about them than you. It should always be ignored.

Here are 5 tips to help you with receiving and processing criticism: 

1. No One is Perfect
Suppose your boss gives you a task that requires skills that are not your strengths. You take on the task but don’t do as well as you should. Your boss may ask you why it wasn’t up to standards. The first issue is you should have let him know that the task was beyond your skillset in the first place. But, even if he knows, you have to accept the fact that you aren’t perfect. New tasks are going to time and practice when they are outside of your skillset. Your manager may be asking questions to get you to see how to improve for the next time you try.

2. Don’t Take It Personally
It’s important to realize that criticism is not personal, or at least should not be presented that way. When people present criticism properly, they are doing so to help you improve. They may not always be correct in the advice they give. But, don’t pass it off completely. Consider what is being said and try to see how it can be used to improve yourself. As an aside, if the criticism is unwarranted and personal, you do have the right to challenge it.

3. Don’t Argue with Assessments
If you are presented with criticisms, consider grabbing a notepad and writing down what is being said. You should ask for clarifications but try to avoid being confrontational. The person offering the critique is only trying to help. Remember it’s only from their viewpoint. Don’t argue! 

4. People will Respect Your Acceptance
When you are open to critiques, you will find that people will respect this, and you will be looked upon as someone who is mature and professional. This can make all the difference when there is a promotion up for grabs. Companies like to see people, especially managers, who can take the heat, so to speak. If you have thick skin, you are going to be looked upon as someone who can handle most situations.

5. Use the Information Presented
It’s one thing to take criticism but another altogether to discard it. There is a reason for the criticism, and that is to help you. That’s a critical component and should not be taken lightly. If the person giving the critique has the credibility to do so, make sure you take steps to incorporate what was said. There may be reasons why you can’t but make sure you and the person understand why.