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Is it Negativity or Constructive Criticism?

Constructive criticism ,as a woman in the workforce, you’re bound to face negativity and criticism. It’s an unfortunate part of the job. However, you can use this negativity to your advantage. By turning it into constructive criticism, you can learn and grow from the experience. Here’s how to do it.

Constructive Criticism vs. Negativity

First, let’s differentiate between constructive criticism and negativity. Constructive criticism is designed to help you improve. It’s specific and actionable. On the other hand, negativity is designed to tear you down. It’s vague and unhelpful. 

For example, let’s say your boss tells you that you need to be more assertive in meetings. This is constructive criticism because it’s specific and actionable. You know what you need to work on, and you have a clear path forward. 

On the other hand, let’s say your boss tells you that you’re not cut out for the job. This is negativity because it’s vague and unhelpful. You don’t know what you need to work on, and you feel like giving up instead of trying to improve. 

The Power of Constructive Criticism

When something negative happens at work—you make a mistake, you don’t get a project you wanted, etc.—it’s natural to second-guess yourself. You might start wondering if you’re really cut out for the job or if everyone else is right about you not being good enough. 

Constructive criticism can help prevent these negative thought patterns by providing specific feedback about what went wrong and how to fix it. When you receive constructive criticism, it allows you to see the situation objectively and identify a way to improve for next time. As a result, constructive criticism can actually help boost your confidence instead of tearing it down like negativity does.

Constructive criticism ,

1. Listen without getting defensive: It can be tempting to immediately get defensive when someone criticizes your work or offers suggestions for improvement—especially if that person is someone in a position of authority like your boss or a senior colleague. However, it’s important to take a step back and really listen to what that person has to say before responding. They might have valid points that can help you improve your work going forward.  

2 .Thank them for their input: Once you’ve had a chance to listen without getting defensive, go ahead and thank them for their input! Not only will this help build bridges between yourself and the person offering the constructive criticism , but indicating that you ‘re open to hearing feedback will encourage others to give their two cents as well . And who knows —the more perspectives you have on a situation, the better off you’ll be .   

3 . Ask clarifying questions: If there are still some things y ou ‘re unsure about after listening to the person ‘s feedback, go ahead and ask clarifying questions! For example, if they suggest you be more assertive in meetings, ask them for specific examples of when you could have been more assertive or what being more assertive would look like in practice.  

4 . Make a plan for improvement: Finally, once you’ve listened to their feedback and accepted that there might be some validity to it, make a plan for how you ‘ll improve going forward ! If they suggest you be more assertive in meetings, commit to speaking up at least once during every meeting for the next week. If they suggest your writing could use improvement, sign up for that writing course you ‘ve been eyeing. Having a plan will make it easier to follow through on those improvements!  Implementing these steps into your professional life will help ensure that any negativity or criticisms you face turn into opportunities for growth instead of roadblocks holding you back from success! 

Negative comments can feel like punches straight to the gut—especially when they come from people we respect at work like our bosses or colleagues. However, by learning how to take this negativity and turn it into constructive criticism, we can use it as fuel to propel us forwards instead of letting it drag us down into self-doubt territory. 



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Tamara Toussaint Owens

Tamara Owens is a confidence coach who helps women tap into their boldest selves. After years of working in corporate America, Tamara became frustrated with the lack of opportunities for women to express their true selves. She saw too many strong women held back by limiting beliefs and decided to take action. When Tamara Owens was laid off from her corporate job, she saw it as an opportunity to pursue her true passion: helping women build confidence and reach their full potential. Owens is a bold and confident woman herself, and she was determined to help other women overcome their limiting beliefs and achieve success on their own terms.

Welcome to not that mommy
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