How to Handle Workplace Criticism | Fostering Civil Discourse to your Advantage

Criticisms are one of those things we need but do not actually like or want to hear. They help us to grow, improve and get better every day. Unfortunately, criticism also cuts deep when it is given and can cause more harm than good.

Although criticism is important, it is not what counts. What actually counts is what you do with the criticism when it is given, especially in the workplace.

Criticism in the workplace is very important. It helps to refine you, strengthen you and also help you to grow and become better versions of yourself. Although it might be hard, you can use it to your advantage if you practice civil discourse.

Civil discourse in the workplace is one way to handle workplace criticism. Still, when hit by criticism, even constructive criticism, we don’t know how to react or respond to it. While some quickly become defensive, others let their emotions control them.

But how can one handle criticism in the workplace without any of these? The answer is practicing civil discourse and knowing how to use civil discourse in workplace settings to your advantage. The following will help you achieve that.

Stay calm

When most people are criticized, they react quickly and allow their emotions to take control and cloud their judgment. But is that healthy? No.

In the workplace, civil discourse will help you receive criticisms objectively. You will see criticisms as a tool for self-improvement and becoming a better person. Professionally, criticisms will help you improve and grow. When used properly, it can be a powerful guide throughout your career.

Civil discourse in the workplace entails respectful and productive discussions where everyone’s opinions are treated equally, even if they are criticisms. Once you can stay calm through criticisms instead of reacting, you are on your way to successfully foster civil discourse in your workplace.

This way, people, coworkers, managers, or even employers can easily approach you to talk.

No one will want to approach you if you easily get defensive when criticized. Do not be quick to jump to the defense when criticized.

Suppose your coworkers cannot talk to you because of your defensive nature. In that case, growing professionally will be difficult, and civil discourse in your workplace will be hindered.

When Criticized, Understand the Criticism Before Responding

Criticism, whether in the workplace or not, can shake anyone. You will be surprised to know that criticisms still shake even people who are well-known to receive negative feedback. This is completely normal.

How well you understand the criticism and practice civil discourse is how well your reaction to the situation will be. So when criticized, remember to make the most of the situation.

  • Take your time to understand the criticism.
  • Know what was said.
  • Understand the advice that was given.
  • Learn how positive it is and how helpful it would be to you.

Taking time to understand the criticism will help you respond better, making you feel or show more professionalism in the workplace.

This is another benefit of civil discourse in the workplace. Since civil discourse requires active listening with an open mind, you will actively listen to criticism with an open mind and respond accordingly. What could be more professional than that?

Criticisms we have agreed are important. But one thing is also important. Knowing the source of the criticism and the intention of the critics.

Not all criticisms will be useful to you. And it would be best if you learned to differentiate them from very healthy criticism that can improve you.

Like in civil discourse, you can acknowledge a critic’s opinions and even listen to them carefully. But it does not necessarily mean you agree with it. It will not hurt to take it if it favors you or comes from someone with good intentions. If it somehow feels malicious, there is no need to, but that doesn’t mean the critic should not be thanked.

Final thoughts

Many people find it very difficult to handle criticism in the workplace. But you should know how important it is to respond professionally to it and what it holds for your credibility.

Coworkers, managers, and even bosses might want to discuss some important issues with you that could increase and improve the growth of the business, however, because of how you react to criticisms.

To foster civil discourse in your workplace, you must stay calm while being criticized and understand the criticism before responding. This makes the process of handling criticism easier. Practicing civil discourse in the workplace will also come in handy and make criticism easier to accept and appreciate.