Project Management Tips: Dealing With Criticism
Have you ever felt defeated after a critique session? Do you take it personally when your boss picks apart your plans? Is it a personal failure if someone can’t share your vision for a project? It can be hard to cope with criticism of our work, but one of the most important skills of successful project managers is knowing how to deal with criticism appropriately. Here are some of the most effective ways to handle criticism on the job.
Change Your Attitude About Criticism
Most people think of criticism as a negative thing, but you can start to think of it in a positive light. When you think of criticism as a positive influence, you can begin to see opportunities for improvement instead of attacks on your ideas. Instead of assuming that the person giving you critique is trying to tear you down or erode your confidence, consider that they are giving you a new way of looking at your project.
Break Down Criticism
To get the most out of any critique, it’s important to fully understand what the critic is saying. You can use criticism constructively if you actively engage with the person giving you a critique. Ask the critic to clarify their points or give you evidence for why they think what they do. This way you can identify specific areas that you can improve. Showing that you are willing to learn from criticism is also a good way to impress your boss.
Embrace Criticism With Enthusiasm
As a project manager, it’s your job to solve problems. When someone points out a problem with your work, you should recognize that you have been given a unique opportunity to solve that problem and exceed your boss’ expectations. Those who criticize your work aren’t showing you what you did wrong; they are giving you opportunities to improve and innovate, so embrace criticism as a catalyst for change. Embracing criticism makes you more open to change and therefore makes you a better project manager.
Don’t Take Criticism Personally
One of the worst reactions to criticism is to be personally offended. When offered critique, it is very important to remain calm and act professionally. Remember that the person giving you criticism isn’t attacking you personally—they are trying to make your ideas and projects better. Stay focused on the project instead of your own emotions.
Understand Where Criticism is Coming From
When dealing with criticism from a superior, it might be helpful to remember that your boss has probably been where you are now. Do you think the CEO got into that position by reacting badly to criticism? Try to learn from others’ examples and take criticism with grace.