The Importance of Accepting Criticism – and Praise

thank youNo matter what your profession, industry or position at some point in your career you will be on the receiving end of two types of communication: criticism and praise.

I have come to realize that most people only focus on the criticism.  There is a great deal of time and articles written on how to take it, give it and use it.

Criticism is important.  From a general perspective it allows you to gain insight from a different viewpoint, identify areas in which you can improve and it can strengthen your communication with the person delivering the criticism.

Seen from the positive aspect, even though the process may be painful, it can be a benefit to your skills and ultimately your career.

Then there is praise.

We may be getting better at receiving criticism; however, I see a lot of room for improvement in taking a compliment.

Your reaction to praise can actually negate the compliment.  It can make person complimenting you uncomfortable and hesitant to praise you again.

Responding in a way that is overly surprised or dismissive can send the message that you do not believe that you deserve the compliment and to a greater degree – you have little regard for your own value.

If you do not value yourself, how can others?

The two step way to best receive praise:

Say thank you
Stop talking

Not “Thank you, but….”
Not “Thank you, it was nothing…”
Not “Thank you, I didn’t really do anything…”

Just thank you.

On the other side of the coin, do not milk it either.  They already gave you a compliment.

Not “Thank you, I worked really hard….”
Not “Thank you, I killed myself on that project…”
Not “Thank you, I didn’t think anyone noticed….”

Just thank you.

It is not always comfortable to deliver criticism, do not make it difficult for someone to give you a compliment.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer

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