Accept Criticism While at Work

So, you just finished what you thought was a great project at work, and now your boss is listing all the things you need to improve upon. Don't get discouraged; constructive criticism is a key part of any job. Through this article, learn how to accept criticism and do your jobs well.


  1. Accept that you are not perfect. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you're fooling yourself. You will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.
  2. Double check your work. After you've finished, and before you submit it to your supervisor, be sure you've gone over everything carefully. This can help you to avoid silly mistakes and ensure that your boss won't have to bother you about minor problems.
  3. Don't take it personally. If your co-worker has criticism for you, remind yourself that it doesn't necessarily mean she/he doesn't like you, or that you're not good enough for the job. Your co-worker is simply trying to ensure that you do the best work possible.
  4. Listen carefully. If you ignore critical comments, you're doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Take notes and continually remind yourself how to fix the problem. This step is the most difficult, as it can mean that one must "suck up" one's pride and admit one's responsibility in one's work-related errors.
  5. Ask yourself what can you learn from this criticism. If you feel yourself growing defensive or getting angry, repeat the question 'What can I learn?'
  6. Agree with part of the criticism. When faced with criticism, most people focus on the part of the negative feedback that may not be true and ignore the rest. This doesn't solve any problems, and you don't learn anything. When you agree with one part of the criticism, you become open to learning. You don't have to agree with everything; even agreeing with one small aspect of the criticism will create an atmosphere of teamwork. The focus then can become how you'll work together to solve a problem, which will lessen your feeling of being attacked.
  7. Analyze and evaluate what you've heard. You need time to process the information, determine if it's a valid criticism and decide what you'll do to solve the problem or correct the mistake. If this is a complaint you've heard repeatedly, you should think about what you can learn from the situation so it doesn't happen again.
  8. Don't hold a grudge. Staying angry/upset about criticism can affect your future work. Put the mistakes out of your mind and focus on doing the best job possible on the next task.
  9. Remember, anything that happens is for a reason. If a certain co-worker isn't being very warm to you, or your boss just named a suck-up the employee of the month, then this usually means that it's a good thing, because something much better will be in store for you. No good acts of hard work or patience go unrewarded.
  10. Clear the air. If you're upset with how your co-worker criticized you, let him or her know as soon as possible, so there are no lingering bad feelings between the two of you. Explain why it upset you, and suggest changes that could be made to strengthen your relationship.
  11. Accept the fact that others may see something that you don't. Even if you don't agree with the criticism, others may be seeing something that you are not even aware of. If they say that you are negative or overbearing, and you don't feel that you are, well; maybe you are and you just don't see it. Allow for the fact that others may be right, and use that possibility to look within yourself.
  12. Be happy whatever the criticism and do not let the criticism bring you down.


  • If the opportunity arises, discuss the criticism with someone you trust to give you an objective view; in this way you can see if the criticism is reasonable or just someone using his status to assert his authority over others.
  • Always remember that it is your work being criticized, not you. For example, if your co-worker is criticizing a letter you wrote, forget that you ever wrote it. Pretend that someone else did, and your co-worker is merely asking you to revise it for them.
  • Whatever you do make sure that it is the best from your side. People who have difficulty accepting criticism are less likely to succeed in their profession.
  • Often coworkers find your mistakes because they want to make a mark of their own. It is a good hack to leave one obvious mistake that is easy to solve; your boss and coworkers can see it and tell you about (and feel they've contributed). Once they found that, their hunger to find mistakes will be satisfied.
  • Always give yourself sometime to think before responding, will save you loads of problems later
  • Remember, your co-worker is not doing this because he or she does not like you and/or your work. They are doing this because they want you to improve your work.


  • If you feel you're being picked on unfairly, keep a diary of encounters and copies of any critical e-mails or letters.
  • If you feel any written criticism is unjustified, respond to it in the same medium, answering any points made with which you disagree. Written matter is generally kept on file and if you have failed to respond, the record will only show one (the manager's) point of view.
  • Don't try to get your own back, especially with your manager; he or she has the authority (usually backed up by his or her boss) to assert that authority to your disadvantage.

Related Articles