5 Tips for Coping with Criticism in the Workplace

The workplace is a tricky factor of American society.  This is a place where people sometimes do really well, and sometimes they struggle.  The workplace is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of American society, and it is something that we can all work on more.

One of the factors of the workplace that I would really like to see change is criticism in the workplace.  I get that work can be stressful sometimes, but that is no reason to be critical towards others.  In fact, criticism in the workplace, no matter who it is delivered to and who its source is, has absolutely no value or merit of any kind.  I strongly come down hard on criticism in my businesses, and I would love to see criticism totally removed from all workplaces.

Now, this is not to say that I do not believe in correcting wrong actions, or that I do not believe in addressing a negative situation and in using disciplinary actions when it is necessary to use them.  I do believe in that.  However, criticism is totally unnecessary.

Let’s take a look at the definition of criticism as the dictionary puts it:

  • “The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes, or the act of finding fault; censure; disapproval.”

How does that fit in at the workplace?  If an employee is doing something wrong, you point out the wrong action, show them how to do it correctly, and politely ask them to start doing it correctly.  It’s as simple as that.  Being critical towards people has no place, merit, or really any kind of standing when it comes to helping people do a better job in the workplace, or even when it comes to addressing a non-optimum condition within the workplace.

Five Tips for Pushing Past Criticism

Let’s say that, despite your efforts, you still cannot seem to totally remove criticism from the workplace.  Here are some tips for succeeding in this process:

  1. Don’t be defensive about it.  If you truly create belief in the idea that criticism has no place in the workplace, then your focus needs to be on removing the criticism, not defending yourself from it.  Seek to tackle the person on the subject of criticism, or go to their boss.  If the person you are getting criticism from is your boss, then go talk to their boss.  If your boss is at the top of the food chain, then tackle them on it.  If that doesn’t work, then quit and go get a different job.  It’s just not worth it to accept criticism into your life.
  2. Maintain a positive attitude and focus on forward thinking, not negative thinking.  A positive attitude breeds positivity, and a negative attitude breeds negativity.  Be positive, and criticism is less likely to follow you.
  3. Just don’t acknowledge it.  If you aren’t up to tackling someone on their criticism, then just don’t even acknowledge it.  Don’t grant it recognition by talking to the person about it, even defensively.  Ignore the person’s comments.
  4. Bring it to the attention of the higher-ups.  If you are being criticized by a co-worker, then bring it the attention of the boss, who’s responsibility it is to reduce criticism in the workplace effectively.
  5. Don’t be critical yourself.  This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we can be critical without even realizing it.  Be sure that you yourself are not in your own way being critical.

At the end of the day, the goal needs to be a total removal of criticism from the workplace.  If you want to talk about other ways to get rid of criticism, message me at my Per Wickstrom Facebook account.

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