The Importance of Accepting (and Sometimes Inviting) Criticism

When young we’re guided, fed, clothed and even criticized by siblings and adults. If you leave your home, you open yourself up to most anything the world can deliver. This includes a healthy dose of criticism. Be honest, it hurts, right? No one like to be criticized. But, it can also work to our advantage as we gather essential information.

Most of the time, it is not asked for and it stinks to receive. And, more often than not, it comes from folks who should keep their opinions to themselves. However, life doesn’t work that way. Focusing on our professional life with a mention of our personal life near the end, I’ll share 3 reasons when it’s cool to accept and even invite criticism.

1) At work, we open ourselves to guidance and criticism every day and folks are keen to deliver. Opinions are tossed around without asking and we’re just supposed to stand/sit and listen, take it and NOT make a face. Not impossible, but not easy either.

Your manager or c-level type seem to be the ones dishing it out and here’s where you can have an advantage. Listen with purpose, nod when needed and thank them.


I know, this sounds counter intuitive, however there is much to be gained.

A) You’ll learn things that could benefit your job, a promotion, a project etc.

B) You’ll find out more about people, agendas and goals. Advantage you!

C) You’ll learn who to stay away from because they are a jerk!

2)  Being like Spock from Star Trek who uses logic and less emotion confuses people because we humans think that criticism = BOLD retorts and responses filled with reason(s) while the criticizer is incorrect. Not so quick. Maybe they are correct.  My advice is to listen, absorb and keep/toss out as needed.

I understand that it’s difficult to change the way we act when dealing with or accepting criticism. It’s a challenge for me too. But, we have personal goals and in order to achieve them we’ll have to become friends or a least okay with criticism.

3) Tone is essential when dishing out criticism. Too stern and your message with fall flat with many ears. I suggest a positive approach to criticism that is supportive, instructional and not aimed at the person but an action. And, giving options on how to fix, improve or redo should be done with “an economy of words.”

Asking people what they think about something that involves you will open you up to suggestions, thoughts and criticism. How you choose to use this information is entirely up to you which gives you an advantage that can be used in both your professional and personal life. Be open, toss out what you don’t need and consider using criticism to your advantage.