Winston Churchill once said: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Regardless of where you work or who you work for, being able to take criticism is part of the job description. Whether you’re getting feedback from your boss or a client, having a proper perspective on criticism and a sound understanding of how to use it effectively is important.
Unfortunately, not many people enjoy criticism. In fact, many have developed a thick skin and take pride in their ability to brush it off and move on. However, despite its negative connotation, criticism often presents an excellent opportunity to grow as a designer. Before you can respond effectively, you need to understand what those opportunities are.
Let’s take at some important aspects of getting constructive criticism:
- Uncover blind spots
Doing your own thing is easy, but your habits will eventually become deeply ingrained and hard to break. Criticism gives you a vital outside perspective on your work, uncovering potential areas for improvement that you are unable to see by yourself.
- Challenge yourself
Feedback challenges you to be a better designer. Rather than settle for your own standards, you are pushed to take your work to the next level.
- Develop communication skills
If nothing else, dealing with a critic can dramatically improve the way you communicate — an essential skill for any successful design career.
- Outside motivation
Constructive criticism often gives you the kick in the butt you need to learn a new design skill or technique. Self-motivation is great, but everyone could use a hand from time to time.
- A lesson in humility
Never underestimate the importance of humility. Although criticism can bruise the ego, it keeps you grounded, making you easier to work with and more open to learning from others.
A positive view of criticism isn’t enough. You also need to know how to respond effectively when it comes. Here are eight tips you can use to start making the most of criticism today.