At it’s most stressful, work can take an emotional toll. It’s often difficult to keep an objective view on the feedback are receiving. Constructive criticism can be very hard to take, and can make it feel like everything is going wrong. If your mood is often directly affected by work, odds are you are taking it personally, which can take a toll on your health and happiness.
However, part of being in the working world is an ability to take criticism gracefully, learn from it and move forward, as deeply personal as it can feel sometimes. An easy trick? If you’ve received negative feedback via email, DO NOT respond right away. Take a few deep breaths and try your best to read between the lines of what your co-worker or superior is trying to say. After you’ve returned to neutral, respond concisely and address their concerns. Use this as a learning opportunity. You can only learn the best way to do something by making a few mistakes along the way. Dust yourself off, and work to make sure the issue is corrected in the future.
Responding to feedback in person can be tricky. Always take a breath, and do your best to make good eye contact. Again, find the learning moment. What is this person trying to say? How can it help? If you feel a defensive tone coming on, step back. A good tip, that also works well for any job interview and any interaction — listen. Listen to what the other person has to say before mounting a defense. This will make everyone involved feel infinitely better and will make it easier to move on.