Ever been having a happy, productive day that is jarred when someone tells you something you did was lacking? It can mess things up. Bring you down.
Most of us want praise, not criticism. We only want to hear, “Great job!” or “That was awesome.” We do not want to hear, “Can you make it longer or funnier or brighter, etc.?” or “That is not what we want. It just isn’t good enough.”
But criticism can be a good thing. Here are 7 important reasons why we should embrace criticism, even if it does lean to the negative side.
- It can help you keep your job. When your boss or a client tells you that you are not producing what is wanted, they are giving you the opportunity to produce what is wanted. (Rather than dismissing you.)
- It provides a different viewpoint. You, by definition, cannot be objective about your work. You own it. You like it. You defend it. But that other person’s appraisal of your work comes without your built-in prejudices.
- It gives your work meaning. Even if you are told that your work is sub-par, at least your critic thinks your work is worth paying attention to.
- It gives you an edge. If you pound out the same thing day after day with no positive or negative feedback, your focus goes away. You don’t concentrate on doing your best because, apparently, it doesn’t matter.
- It can give you clues about your long-term situation with your employer or client. If the negative feedback continues unabated, this is a clear message that it may be time to look for another job.
- Within most critiques that point out what’s wrong, there is sometimes a mention of what’s right. Slight though it may be, this positive beacon within a fog of negativity may be strong enough to provide a small amount of encouragement.
- It provides something to think about. Criticism can be, and often is, ignored. A better way to handle criticism is to process it. Determine whether the criticism is valid. Careful consideration of criticism over time (minutes, hours, days) can allow you to analyze exactly what was said. Sometimes you may find deeper, less obvious, messages.
Use criticism to your advantage. Let it make you a better worker and a better person.