Archive for May 2012

Unjust Criticism at Work

May 20, 2012

Unfair criticism from your boss or co-workers differs from constructive advice. The criticism may be incorrect and you feel it hurts your reputation within the workplace. Sometimes the unfair criticism has nothing to do with how you handle your job. Remain calm and keep reminding yourself you have skills to do your job correctly and don’t deserve the unjust remarks. However, you can handle it in a constructive manner.

Your natural reaction to unfair remarks from a manager cause you to feel angry or question yourself about what you did wrong. Criticism usually does nothing to motivate an employee. If the criticism comes from your supervisor, try to get feedback. You may not be aware of the manager’s likes or dislikes. Ask for more specific information whenever criticism arises. This helps to understand what your boss wants and directs your attention to where you need to change. Maybe the criticism is unfair, but instead of becoming angry and unproductive, which jeopardizes your job, get to the heart of what bothers your boss. Remind yourself you are doing your best, but figure out how to change your work patterns to satisfy the manager and your colleagues.

Ask to sit down with your supervisor and discuss the problem at hand. Focus on the current criticism to correct the matter now and avoid similar situations in the future. Allow the manager to fully explain what is wrong and wait until the message is completed before asking questions. Don’t justify what happened. The manager may interpret your reaction as defensive and uncooperative. Just acknowledge the criticism and offer an apology for any misunderstandings.

Even if you believe the criticism is wrong, state your opinion briefly at the end of the meeting and agree to think about what you have been told. Ask the manager if the two of you can meet later on to discuss progress or improvement pertaining to the issue. This may change the manager’s opinion of you because you are showing initiative and want to do better. Note that you will continue to improve your work performance to resolve any problems.

Avoid a victim mentality and talk to co-workers to see if they have similar problems with a supervisor or other employees. The company or organization may be going through changes, putting people under pressure. Other employees may have some difficulties with unfair criticism. You and your colleagues may think of ways that can improve the situation. Perhaps you are suffering more than others from criticism. You can try to make the situation better, but sometimes two people just don’t have a good relationship. Your options may include discussing the matter with the supervisor or human resources. You can apply for a transfer if possible or a new job. Don’t leave in a fit of anger. Think it over and if you find yourself under stress because things are not improving, seek employment elsewhere.