Constructive Criticism and How to Apply It As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Older man and younger man looking at graph on whiteboard.

So you bit the bullet and asked a supervisor, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend for constructive criticism on your job performance and people skills. Or perhaps you never asked, but “got an earful” regarding your need for improvement. You were given any number of suggestions for enhancing your social and work skills. Now what should you do with this hopefully- valuable and hopefully-well-intentioned feedback?

After listening to the feedback, recording it, and thanking the individual for their input (Yes, thank them. They are helping you!), practice the following in order to apply the constructive criticism:

  • Assess the feedback. Was it offered out of malice or jealousy, and therefore not necessarily entirely accurate? Was it offered in order to help you grow? If you’re not sure how truthful or complete the criticism was, ask for a second opinion from a trusted, knowledgeable individual.
  • Identify supporting evidence for the feedback. If it was pointed out that you aren’t usually on time, think through the times you have arrived late to functions over the last month. Accomplish this task on your own time; its purpose is to take ownership of the problem or personal weakness.
  • Determine the order of concerns or topics to address. Decide your priorities and work on one or two areas at a time.
  • Using the counsel in Solving Problems at Work, map out how to work through and address areas needing improvement. You may need to receive training, acquire blindness-specific tools, work with a rehabilitation counselor or Orientation and Mobility specialist, improve habits, seek support, or identify strategies for success.
  • Set goals and seek accountability. Now that you know how to improve your areas of weakness, set realistic goals with accompanying deadlines. Share your goals with a friend, family member, teacher, or mentor, and ask the individual to check in on you to see if you’re doing what you said you’d be doing. This game plan should keep you motivated.
  • After some time of finding success in the areas that were once weaknesses, ask for a follow-up meeting. The follow-up meeting could be to seek feedback on your growth, or it could be a time where you seek additional constructive criticism.

It’s not easy to hear constructive criticism, and it’s certainly not always comfortable to seek constructive criticism. However, seeking and applying constructive criticism could be exactly what you need to cultivate and develop effective work skills and delightful people skills.