Criticism refers to a thorough examination and review of a person’s actions or work which is aimed at correcting associated faults, defects, and drawbacks. People who criticize are referred to as critiques.

Many a time, criticisms are not pleasant. Whilst some criticisms may be constructive (corrective and helpful), others may be destructive (very frustrating, dispiriting and abusive).

Taking criticism is the ability of a person to accept constructive criticisms for improvement, and being able to withstand the pressure of unfair or dispiriting criticisms while motivating himself to work harder and better instead of giving up.

Taking criticism is not just about accepting what people say. It is also the ability to ignore distractive comments and critics whiles pressing on to achieve an objective.

Importance of being able to take criticisms

Criticisms, whether constructive or destructive, are not pleasant. No one wishes to be criticized but in this world of ours where people have their own subjective observations, you cannot be sure you’ll never face any criticisms in your career.

Being able to take criticisms is important because:

  • Learning from a constructive criticism will help you improve on your working skills with a reduced probability of errors and increased efficiency.
  • It is inevitable during on-the-job training, and it enables the learners understand quickly and better.
  • People who have mastered this skill are not easily demotivated by derogatory comments – they possess a strong will to succeed and a fighting spirit.
  • It is a necessary skill when working on projects with a group or working as a team.
  • It helps make entrepreneurs better, and helps people come up with innovative or improved ideas.

How to improve on taking criticism skills

Like any other skill, taking criticism can be learnt as well as improved upon. Below are helpful tips for improving this skill.

  • Do not take a defensive stance. Criticism is a form of communication. Under normal circumstances, a person criticizes because he sees a genuine problem with your work. Keep cool, listen attentively, and place yourself in the shoes of the critic (see from his point of view). It makes you understand them better and see a fault that you may have not seen earlier. Having a defensive mindset from the onset will impede your listening ability.
  • Compare assertions with facts. You cannot be sure whatever the critic is saying is right. Having heard him out, compare his statements or assessments with the facts on the ground. Sort out what is true from what is a biased statement and make objective analysis of them.
  • Corrective feedback. Critics can be wrong. They may be misinformed about something or may be furnished with insufficient information. When you realize their assertions or statements are based on untrue information, communicate it to them as soon as possible. For instance, a critic says it is wrong to use 15 tablespoons of sugar for a cup of tea but you actually used 15 tablespoons of sugar for 5 cups of tea. However, remember; you are not to defend but to correct wrong information or facts.
  • Do not take criticisms too hard and personal. Whether it is a cold criticism or not, you should always have this mindset; that it is the action that is being criticized and not you. Do not personalize criticisms even if it was a destructive one (aimed at your personality or gender). Let negative criticisms be an inspiration to move on.
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