Many people have trouble accepting criticism, especially in the workplace. Unfortunately, when you become defensive, you end up ignoring the feedback completely and may then fail to address a problem that could limit your career in years to come. When you are in a yearly review or some other situation that involves receiving feedback, you need to realize that you are actually in a position of power. Your job is to make the person receiving feedback feel as comfortable as possible.
While this idea may seem counterintuitive, consider the fact that most managers dread offering feedback and fear how an employee might react. For this reason, managers often rush through criticism, which can compound the issue when they fail to explain things properly. When you focus on helping your supervisor feel comfortable, you create an atmosphere that facilitates meaningful conversation and offers you the chance to think critically about your performance and your potential for growth.
A good way to control your emotions in a review setting is to note the difference between a fact and an opinion. Critical facts, such as you going over budget or missing a deadline, are extremely important for evaluating a performance. Opinions, on the other hand, tend to be vague and are subjective. While a manager may perceive that you do not communicate well with your colleagues, other people may have a different opinion. You should certainly take note of opinions and ask for clarifications about where they stem from, but do not take them to heart.
When a manager provides you with feedback, you should focus on practical, rather than emotional, responses. Instead of becoming defensive, work with the manager to create logical steps for addressing and fixing the perceived problem. By focusing on practicality, you can often avoid the emotional impact altogether.