Criticism can be hard to take. Nobody likes to be told they’ve done something wrong at work. Some people get defensive about it and others get emotional when their bosses criticize their work. 

Take Raj, a digital marketing executive. His boss called him into her cabin to discuss a quarterly budget report he’d prepared. She found some mistakes in his report and wanted to point them out to Raj. He was taken aback and apologized profusely, to the point where he was on the verge of crying.

His boss sat him down and explained that it was okay. She just wanted to make sure that he didn’t repeat these mistakes. She explained that he should double-check the figures next time. She said the rest of his report looked good.

Criticism might not be easy to take, but it’s necessary for success in the workplace. Constructive criticism from a boss or your colleagues helps you improve your work. Raj’s boss offered constructive criticism when she pointed out his mistakes to ensure he got things right the next time.

Employees should learn how to handle criticism and use it positively to up their game.

How to deal with someone who constantly criticizes you?

There are two types of criticism: constructive criticism and destructive criticism. It is important to know the difference between them to understand how you handle criticism. 

Constructive criticism is solution-oriented, like the kind Raj's boss gave him. It helps you grow. How do you handle constructive criticism? Thank them for pointing your mistakes out, find the best way to resolve them, and make sure you do not commit the same mistakes in the future.

But sometimes people constantly point out your mistakes in public, just for the sake of humiliation. This is destructive criticism. How do you deal with someone who constantly criticizes you? Simple. Just be polite. Don’t take it personally or get defensive; process the criticism and strive to be better at your job. 

How to deal with criticism at work

We often perceive mistakes as failures. This makes it hard for us to see a way out. But you can handle criticism at work by following a simple model called the 3As of Feedback. Let’s see what exactly it is.

The 3As of Feedback 

  1. Accept

Accept the situation. Accept constructive criticism. After all, we are human and make mistakes. But remember that a mistake does not mean failure. Accept a mistake but don’t panic or consider it the end of the world. See what you can learn from it and how you can use it to improve professionally.

Remember that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb only after making countless mistakes. What did he do every time the glass dome remained unlit? He accepted that what he had tried to do was not the way and set out to find the correct way. 

  1. Assess

After accepting your mistake, assess how to fix it. Think about how you can prevent the same mistake from repeating. Only when you know how to handle criticism, will you be able to make progress.

  1. Act

Now that you have figured out what went wrong, accepted, and reflected on constructive criticism, it’s time to act. If you are wondering how to deal with criticism positively, tell yourself that the only way towards success is accepting that you had made a mistake. Constructive criticism allows you to detach yourself from your mistakes and pave the way to success. 

Harappa Education’s Embracing Change course teaches you a five-step process of learning from failures and becoming more resilient. You too can be resilient in the face of criticism. Always remember, criticism is not a personal judgment. To hear what’s being said, don’t be hard on yourself, and say thank you. Remember, criticism is usually offered by people who want to see you grow.


Explore blogs on topics such as good leadership qualitiesleadership lessonsleadership strengthshow to be polite, and how to motivate your team in our Harappa Diaries section to hone your leadership skills.

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