Criticism at work can stimulate professional and personal growth if you know how to deal with it effectively. Here are some guidelines for adopting a positive mindset and responding to feedback from supervisors and colleagues.

Taking a Positive View of Criticism

1. Stay relaxed. If you try to appear calm and confident, you’re more likely to feel that way. Keeping your emotions under control will enable you to listen better. Take some deep breaths and keep your body language open.

2. Look on the bright side. If you’re sensitive to criticism, remind yourself of your good qualities and the many things that you do well. Maintain a good work-life balance so you can draw on support from your loved ones or spiritual practices to help manage any tension at the office.

3. Keep an open mind. Your co-workers may have valuable suggestions for areas where you can improve. Respect their point of view. Be receptive to new ideas and alternative approaches. You might learn something that makes your job easier.

4. Look for the humor in the situation. Even if you receive unjustified comments, you can make them easier to deal with by noticing the comic elements. For example, if a customer blames you for their expired coupons, respond tactfully without taking it too seriously.

5. Take a compassionate view. Your supervisor may speak harshly about your performance because they’re stressed about pressures in their own life. Give others some leeway if you know they just came out of a difficult budget meeting or are experiencing challenges at home.

Responding to Feedback From Supervisors and Colleagues

1. Invite feedback. Asking for feedback regularly beats waiting for the annual performance review. You’ll get prompt and specific guidance for doing your job better, and you’ll demonstrate your ability to take initiative.

2. Ask questions. Show the other person you’re really listening by asking pertinent questions. You’ll also clarify any areas of doubt.

3. Hear the other person out. Let the other person speak without interruptions. For the moment, pay attention to them instead of working to prepare a defense.

4. Conduct a self-appraisal. Regularly evaluate your own work. It will give you a stronger foundation for reflecting on your colleagues’ remarks.

5. Focus on the message. Distinguish between the content of the message and the manner of delivery. Even if you think someone is being less than courteous, there could still be some truth in what they’re saying.

6. Get a second opinion. Surveying other people around the office is helpful if you need some objective input. You may find out that your experience is typical. On the other hand, you may discover that you’ll need to make a special effort if you and your boss appear to be a difficult fit.

7. Document your position. If there’s an ongoing disagreement, find ways to support your conclusions. Industry statistics or internal memos may strengthen your case. However things turn out, you’ll contribute to a constructive and informed dialogue.

8. Be gracious. Set a good example by offering your feedback in a way that’s timely and specific. Focus on people’s conduct rather than their personalities. This will encourage better morale and office communications. Show your willingness to cooperate with everybody even when you experience occasional conflicts.

9. Schedule a follow-up session. Let people know how much you appreciate their advice. After you’ve had time to implement their suggestions, tell them how they helped to improve your performance. This will also give you a chance to make a better impression on them.

Make criticism at the office work to your advantage. Use feedback from others to improve your performance and advance in your career.

How to network effectively at a party, event, and convention

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Few dispute the importance of setting goals. It only makes sense that having a written objective increases the likelihood of success! Effective goals have several characteristics that help to assure a positive outcome. Have you worded the goal in a way that ensures your success? Have you adequately prioritized the goal?

By incorporating a few strategic ideas into your next goal setting session, you can greatly increase your odds of success.

Try these strategies to help make your goal a reality:

1. Choose the best goal for you. Consider all possibilities before you select the topic of your goal.

• A simple, but effective exercise is to list 5-10 possible goals that you believe would improve your life. Then ask yourself, “Which of these goals would benefit my life the most right now?”

• A more meaningful goal has a better chance of being achieved.

2. A goal statement must have a deadline. Without a deadline, your goal will lack any sense of time urgency.

• A recommended way of formatting your goal is: “On or before 06/01/xx, I will have completed specific actions #1 and #2 to sufficiently lose at least 15 lbs.” This statement provides a clear endpoint, but still allows for the goal to be accomplished sooner.

• It is generally more effective to limit the timeframe to 12 weeks or less. If a goal will require a greater period of time, break the goal down into smaller, multiple goals.

3. Leave the results open ended when appropriate. Just as you allowed the goal to be accomplished sooner than the specified date in the above example, where appropriate, also allow your results to surpass your goal.

• Notice the portion of the goal above: “lose at least 15 lbs.” Wording the goal statement in this fashion allows for greater results, assuming that is appropriate for you. Avoid limiting your results if it’s unnecessary to do so.

• Here are some examples of goals that can usually be left open ended:

i) Money-based goals: Would anyone ever want to limit themselves here?

ii) Weight-loss goals: Depending on the amount of weight that needs to be lost, losing a couple more pounds would usually be received as good news.

4. Include your responsibilities. Always include specific actions in your goal statement.

• Engineers frequently state that something is “necessary, but not sufficient.” For example, an egg is necessary to bake a cake but it’s not sufficient; other ingredients are also required. By including specific actions in your statement, you’re claiming responsibility for doing everything that needs to be done to accomplish the goal.

5. Prioritize your goal. Your brain is inundated with countless things every day. It needs to know that this goal is more important than all the other tasks it faces each day.

• One way to accomplish this is by utilizing repetition. After first setting your goal, write it down 25 times. Now notice how you feel about the goal. If you feel anything less than motivated and excited, there is some question in your mind about it; try to figure out what’s holding back your enthusiasm so you can move forward with confidence.

• Strong, positive emotions can also be used as a prioritization tool. Imagine what it would feel like to achieve your goal. Imagine the ideal scene. What would you see, smell, think, and feel? The better the vision, the better the odds of success.

• Every day, write your goal one time and perform the visualization process several times. This will reinforce the priority of your goal.

Consider these ideas the next time you set a goal. By using these 5 tips, your odds of success will increase greatly. While there are multiple ways to set goals, the process above has been proven to be highly effective time and time again. Try it on your next goal; you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised.

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