Many of us allow our identity to be tied to our work. We let our jobs define our self-worth. If we receive critical feedback for our work, we feel like our life is failing too.
When performance reviews are around the corner, it is worth knowing how to take critical feedback without letting it affect our emotional wellbeing.
While you can't control what you're boss will say to you, you can control how you respond.
A strategy for dealing with criticism is the Stop-Acknowledge-Feel-Engage (SAFE) technique. It can remind you of your worth and help you manage your mental and emotional health.
When our work performance is criticised, it can make us question our sense of self and make us perceive it as a threat. We are likely to have an emotional reaction that can lead to irrational outbursts.
How to manage your response: Stop. Don't defend yourself or argue your position. Instead, try to become aware of your physical and emotional reaction. Is your heart racing, your breathing shallow? Silently count to 10, focus on your breath, and lightly rub your fingers as you listen.
As your boss talks, actually listen and don't just think of a rebuttal. Ask open-ended questions to show you are engaged in the conversation.
When you come away from the conversation, you might need some place to vent. Find a safe space outside of the office, if possible.
Once you don't feel so down, ask people you trust to help identify your blind spots and talk about improving these areas. Then look at the feedback you've received and compare it to what your boss said.
Set up some time with your boss to discuss the feedback and how you plan to improve.