How to Take Criticism

You forget to turn in some paperwork for a burglary. You have to use force to arrest someone’s husband. You have to block traffic for hours while waiting for a tow truck to clear up an accident. The options are limitless for ways that a police officer can piss off the public – and even more so to piss off their supervisor.

Let’s start with the public first. How can you learn to let the complaints roll off your back and continue doing your job, regardless of whether complaints are valid or not?

  • Always be mindful about every choice that you make. Integrity is a huge part of a police officer’s job.
  • Stay calm. If the person is complaining to you, just know that they are most likely not having a great day if you are there in the first place.
  • Understanding that with tragedy or “bad” happenings, people automatically and naturally seek out someone to blame. It’s easy to blame a police officer. It’s even easier to blame others rather than accepting that they may be at fault.
  • Listen to the criticism and truly assess whether you could do things differently in the future to avoid a similar outcome. Sometimes you can’t do things differently; it’s just the way of the job.

CriticismHow to take criticism from your superiors?

  • Actually listen and absorb what they are telling you. They may be wrong or they may be right, but you will never know if you are feeling defensive and not listening.
  • Double check all of your work before submitting it. If you are finished with a call that requires a report, take a moment after to make sure you ascertained all of the information needed. If you didn’t, go back and get it.
  • Don’t take it personally. Receiving criticism doesn’t mean that you aren’t good enough or that someone doesn’t like you. It is just part of the job and a necessary step to making you the best officer that you can be.
  • If you feel that the criticism isn’t warranted, after taking some time to think about it, it is ok to go and clear the air with that person if they are a co-worker. If it is a supervisor that you don’t agree with, usually you just have to accept what they said and move on. Try and find anything positive that you can pull from the criticism and focus on that aspect.
  • Write down the criticism in your own words. Look at it with fresh eyes from this perspective. It will help to remove the heightened emotion associated with feeling like you “got in trouble.” It may also give you some insight into some goals that you can set for yourself to do differently in the future.

The most important thing anyone can do when faced with criticism is to maintain a positive attitude. This is true for most aspects of life. It can be easy to beat yourself up when

someone tells you that you aren’t doing something properly. Two of the biggest fears of any person are a fear of not having enough and a fear of not being enough. By maintaining a positive attitude and positive self-talk, it will lead to a more positive and happy life.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Sam Milam

Sam Milam

Sam Milam has been writing and running her own businesses for several years. She was a police and fire emergency 911 dispatcher for four years. She has received training for handling responses to active shooters, suicides, kidnappings, structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, tactical incidents, natural disaster emergencies and so on. Knowledge is power, and by passing on that knowledge she hopes to provide tools for others to avoid and protect themselves and those around them.
Sam Milam
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