Constructive criticism is often uncomfortable to hear. But, in architecture and design, those who accept feedback with humility are better able to learn on the job and improve their skills over time. These tips can help you capitalize on constructive criticism in the workplace.

Pause and Listen

Most professionals experience an immediate emotional reaction when they hear criticism because negative feedback can feel like a personal attack. Before reacting, stop and truly listen to what the other person is saying. Give them the opportunity to share their point of view and process their words completely. Your first goal should be to understand what their criticism is. You can react to criticism when you’re alone, but you want to appear appreciative in-person, so avoid becoming defensive and try to remain gracious.

Ask Follow-Up Questions

Once you have fully listened to the criticism and processed the information, take the time to ask follow-up questions. This is your chance to make sure you understand the feedback and to show your manager that you value their input. If you react with anger, your manager may assume you have no interest in improving. By asking questions and engaging in a healthy conversation, you show them you are willing to learn and to change for the better.

Don’t Indulge Negative Emotions Too Long

Feeling upset when you hear criticism is perfectly normal reaction. You may be angry at yourself for disappointing your team, afraid for your job security, or any number of negative emotions. They key is to let yourself experience these emotions, but to do in private and move past the negativity quickly. What you have to remember is your managers give constructive criticism because they want you to improve your capabilities and they want you to succeed.

Approach Criticism as an Opportunity

After you have had time to accept the feedback, practice self-reflection. Most people have a hard time evaluating their performance and skills objectively. Feedback is helpful because it allows you to identify strengths and weaknesses you otherwise wouldn’t recognize in yourself. Think about what you did wrong and what steps you can take to make improvements. You have the opportunity to adjust your behavior to make yourself a more valuable asset to your company, so you want to make the most of it.

No one enjoys receiving negative feedback at work because it draws attention to their shortcomings. The reality is that no one is perfect, and everybody has room to improve. Instead of seeing constructive criticism as an instance of failure, approach it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and make changes that can benefit your long-term career goals.

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