How to Handle Criticism and to Criticize Wisely - 8 Tips to Feel Better at Work

Criticism can be a huge problem for a great number of people; nobody likes to be told they are wrong, after all. Unfortunately, criticism is also one of the main ways in which we can get feedback on our work and the things we create, leaving many people at an impasse.

Non-constructive feedback or negative remarks can take us right back to the first time we ever received criticism, and for many people, that is an uncomfortable trip.

Also read: Assert Your Right to Be Happy at Work

According to HR specialists from CustomEssayOrder, criticism can make people so uncomfortable that they will go a long way towards trying to avoid it if they can, sometimes even to the point of subcontracting work to ensure that it is done to the best standards it can be.

How to Handle Criticism: Remove Yourself from the Situation

If a meeting or discussion is getting too much for you (this is particularly important if things are conspiring to make you angry), then it is important to be able to safely and easily remove yourself from the situation in order to calm down and be able to take the criticism more effectively.

Most criticism is not meant badly – people are normally genuinely trying to help, but unfortunately that doesn’t automatically make criticism hurt less. Leave the immediate situation if you can, and go outside for some fresh air. You can also try and find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes, and take some time to ground yourself, and to calm down. Staying calm will enable to you to take the criticism in the spirit that it was meant, so keep this technique in mind for any future critiques.


Venting isn’t always bad – it is who you vent to that can be a problem. Everyone needs to let off steam somehow, but it might be a good idea to keep your venting until an appropriate time, and that time is not in the middle of the staff breakroom.

Venting is best done in a private forum, which automatically precludes any form of social media. It is best to keep any venting away from the company and\or people that you are venting about.

Now that social media is so ubiquitous, businesses and companies are beginning to make their policy to look at any prospective employee’s social media presence in order to see what kind of person they are. While a lot of people use social media as a place to let off steam (not to mention put up photos of said ‘letting off steam’), it is always a good idea to keep things vague. More and more people know how to navigate social media, so if someone leaves up a diatribe against their employer, there is more chance of it being found.

So vent if you must, it is perfectly healthy. Just be careful!

Get More Information

Sometimes criticism is hard because we are left not knowing why it has happened. When this happens, try and find out why the criticisms are being made; sometimes learning about that can help to soothe the pain which can come with being criticised.

Getting more information can move the criticism from meaningless to meaningful, which is something that can make criticism itself easier to handle overall.

Find Out What Can be Learned

This can take place during or after the criticism, it doesn’t matter when. Sometimes it can work best when you have taken a moment to calm down, but some people find that asking for explanations can also slow down the criticism and allow them to remain calm that way as well.

Criticism is rarely handed out purely for the fun of it – generally, it is given in an attempt to improve things. Finding out what can be learned from the criticism is something which will allow you to learn to the best of your ability.

How to Criticize Wisely: Assume that People Can Change

 A lot of people hold back on criticising others, not because they don’t want to burn bridges or actively hurt the other person, but because they don’t think that it would make any difference. This attitude doesn’t help anybody – you (and most likely others) will continue to get frustrated by your co-worker’s behavior and work, and they will not even know that there is a problem.

Assume that people can change and that they want to. Offer up some constructive criticism which you feel would be beneficial – you will probably be surprised by the reaction.

Make Sure You Know What You Want

When you are approaching somebody to offer criticism of their work or their behavior, what do you really want? A lot of people find that they need to psyche themselves up for the big moment where they begin their criticism, but this can have the bad side-effect of them focusing purely on their own accusations concerning the behavior, rather than on what they would like to see happen.

Anybody who experiences this approach will likely be very hurt, and therefore might close down to any recommendations, rendering your efforts useless. To avoid this, vent out your frustrations and make sure you are calm before offering criticism to any co-workers.

Make Your Motives Clear

Criticism can sometimes be given as a personal attack, and has been discussed, we do tend to react negatively to it in any case. Make sure that you know what your motives are, and make sure that the person you are talking to knows them too.

Criticism which is unexpected can come to feel like an attack – make sure that any co-workers know what your purpose is before engaging them with the full critique.

Stick to the Facts

When criticising somebody, make sure that you stick to what is actually relevant, and is going to help your co-worker improve. Getting off-track, or venting about the behavior or work which is under discussion, will not help anyone, and in fact, will most likely cause your co-worker to be less amenable to discussion and criticism.

Wrapping it up

Criticism is difficult to take, for anyone. But it can also be hard to give because as much as most people hate being hurt, they hate hurting others. Constructive criticism can be extremely helpful, however, so it is important to know how to properly give it when needed, and take it when offered. The article gave several ways in which somebody could prepare themselves when criticism was needed, ranging from taking a moment to calm down, to remembering the importance of care on social media.

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