July 6: Handling criticism in the workplace

Three tips on how to handle negative feedback in the workplace.

Source: Harvard Business Review
Published: April 2019

Handling criticism in the workplace

Receiving criticism is never fun, but knowing how to handle negative feedback is an essential workplace skill. Unfortunately, criticism is inevitable, especially if we seek diverse perspectives. Here are tips for staying resilient in the face of criticism:

Be prepared; don’t freeze. Feeling that our ideas are under attack may trigger an involuntary fight-flight-or-freeze response in the amygdala. Have responses prepared such as:

“This is a new perspective. I appreciate your willingness to share a different point of view. I’d like to give this more consideration and get back to you.”

Apply it to your role, not yourself. Determine whether the criticism is particular to you or is a product of problems in your position. You are not your job. 

Take care of yourself; don’t try to push through. Particularly painful comments might take a psychological and physiological toll. You may find it hard to sleep or eat well. Identify small rituals or practices that help renew your energy, such as taking a three-minute walk outdoors for some fresh air or sending an “I appreciate you” email to one colleague.


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