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AirTalk asks: How do you seek out constructive criticism at work?

People work at tables inside of the WeWork co-working space  in Washington, D.C., in 2013
People work at tables inside of the WeWork co-working space in Washington, D.C., in 2013
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explores what kind of feedback employees really want from their supervisors, and what a worker’s attitude towards criticism says about them.

Generally, managerial logic dictates that negative feedback inspires employees to do better but a series of recent studies say most respond conversely. Studies says those who are highly self-aware, display self-control, and maintain close personal relationships at work tend to seek out harsher critiques. But the this minority of people who are especially interested in hearing about their shortcomings, they view negative feedback as a path towards self improvement.

For most, criticism on the job is hard to cope with and can lead employees to construct social networks at work that avoid the confrontation of critique. But researchers and management consultants advise pushing through the sting of criticism leads to overall growth. For employers who want to better prime their employees to receive constructive criticism; studies have recommended delivering the news early in the day, emphasizing the employee’s ability to grow, and by setting an example of also inviting feedback. 


Stacey Finkelstein, associate professor of marketing at Stony Brook University 

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