The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

April 13, 2018

How to Best Take Constructive Criticism


In a world that is oversaturated with information where opinions run rampant, fueled only by increasing connectivity, it seems to be that more people are speaking than listening. Having said that, however, one does need to discern what is worth entertaining and what is purely noise. Constructive criticism can be a bitter pill to swallow but like medicine, it is there to improve you, even if initially it doesn’t sit well. There is value in constructive criticism, bear in mind the following when it comes to receiving it.

1. Be Gracious

Say thank you to the individual for providing the feedback. Be deliberate and be earnest. For the most part, it can be difficult for someone to provide constructive criticism. Even if their delivery leaves something to be desired, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it comes from a good place. At the very least, you can take it onboard and reassess what has been criticized in order to determine your next steps.

2. Ask Questions

If a person has willingly offered constructive criticism, it is more than likely that they will elaborate on their findings. Ask questions to build more clarity. It will also help you understand your own behavior and mistakes a little better. Ask for specific examples and seek concrete solutions to address the feedback.

3. Going Forward

See if it is appropriate to follow up. If the person is in a managerial role, perhaps scheduling time to reconvene will give you a deeper dive into what needs work. If your questions require more time to address, a future meeting may be a better environment to talk through the constructive criticism in more detail.

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