3 Keys to Handling Criticism

Handling criticism – especially the constructive kind – is not the easiest thing to do. Yet we face it each day, whether in small doses or in large chunks. It pays to be adept at knowing what to do when someone criticizes you or your work — not how you handle can have a positive (or negative) impact on you. It can impact your livelihood, your perception of yourself and those around you and even the source of the criticism itself. As you can see, there are a number of factors to take into account when faced with handling criticism; these 3 tips should get you in the right mindset to deal with it accordingly.

Be more analytical

Jason Finnerty says you should listen carefully, think about it and discuss it.

“Consider the source, and then think through their suggestion. Is it something that you can possibly do? If you were to complete the task at hand in the way they are suggesting, would the final outcome be different?”

Don’t take it personally

Oleg Mokhov thinks you should externalize it:

“When you externalize criticism, you escape the defensiveness trap. You stop being self-conscious and take criticism objectively, which lets you reap the benefits of the helpful tips that the criticism contains.”

Don’t hide from it

In this interview, Gary Vaynerchuk says it’s work embracing:

“Approach all critical comments from the perspective of gratitude. They represent an opportunity to improve on an aspect of your job and will only help you in the long run. And even if you don’t agree with what’s being said, by being the bigger person you’ll still come out looking good.”

You know you could do a better job of handling criticism. I’m only saying this because I’m trying to help…

Popular search terms for this article:

handling criticism, handling criticism at work, handling constructive criticism, how to not take criticism personally, how not to take criticism personally, what to do when someone criticizes you, why can\t i take criticism, why cant i take criticism

Carl Natale is a freelance blogger who writes about tips and advice for small businesses. He runs the site Expensiccino.com - a site about how top brands set their prices.


  1. Bex on the 27th September

    I just take them with a pinch of salt later accompanied with a tequila. lol

  2. Gabriele Maidecchi on the 28th September

    #2 seems awfully familiar to me. I had people taking everything too damn personal, and I can confirm that’s incredibly hard to work around. If you can’t accept any kind of criticism and take it always so personal there’s not much room of improvement in your professional life, and the relationship with people working for and with you is really at stake.

  3. dandellion on the 28th September

    Good advices. Though once one find criticism (of trusted peers) valuable feedback and not a personal attack, things change. Good critique helps us improve and work better. Then the author starts switch to asking for critique.

  4. Lisa on the 28th September

    It’s hard to train yourself to not take criticism personally. I dealt with it during college and it really helped me at a former job. My first reaction is to get defensive, but I then realize this is to help me, not hurt me.

    However, there is a line between criticism that’s about your work and just being insulting. But that’s up to the person giving the criticism and if they know how to criticize, i.e. I was taught to compliment, critique, then follow with a compliment. (Not that I’m saying that’s the only or right way to do it!)

  5. Nic B on the 28th September

    Its easier not to take criticism personal when the person delivering the criticism is not making it personal. You can talk to me about a project I’m working on and discuss things that need to improve and how to make things better, and I am fine with that. I welcome that. But when you start using that as a platform to rip me down as a person (i.e. “this design is just plain ugly and stupid and I can’t possibly think why you would even consider this”), then I’ve got a problem with it.

    I think its important for people to learn how to deliver constructive criticism, as well as take it.

  6. Leo Ghost on the 28th September

    I’m a high school business owner myself, luckily I’m able to be part of an advanced class that encourages it. In my case I’m mixing high school drama with real-world level work activities, which as you may guess does get messy.

    Branching off the point Lisa was making, there is a very fine line between helpful suggestions and low-ball insults. I see both sides of the line everyday, which has helped me to learn the difference quite well.

    Thanks for the great post, hopefully others can begin to note the difference and settle petty disputes based only upon “what we think” others may have meant when they gave us feedback.

  7. melanie brooks on the 29th September

    I teach undergraduate journalism courses as an adjunct. I try to prepare them to have a tough skin for when they reach the real world. They’ll need it.

Add a Comment