“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
As a Leader, you will try to make everyone happy.
This will never happen.
You will try though. I do. I like to be liked. Who doesn’t?
When you are leading, you must make choices everyday. It’s inevitable that someone will find some fault with your choices. There are usually two responses when this happens:
- You take it personally.
- You become hardened and disregard everyone’s opinions.
Both of these responses create an unhealthy and unproductive environment. You simply can’t make everyone happy. Some people are going to disagree with you. Check your expectations and realize that no matter how hard you try some people are just not going to like you.
- They may not like your leadership.
- They may not buy into your vision.
- They may not understand the implementation of that vision.
So what do you do?
Be prepared to receive some of the greatest lessons you will get in your leadership.
Criticism can be beneficial to your leadership. Here are 10 ways you will succeed in the face of criticism:
1. Find truth in the criticism.
There is most likely some level of truth with this complaint. Find it, fix it, and move on. If there is no truth, simply move on.
2. Begin to see from another perspective.
You have been challenged. What new ideas are being presented? You may now be able to see it from a different angle.
3. Practice your humility.
Say things like, “Thank you for sharing,” “You have given me something to think about,” “I appreciate your willingness to help me.”
4. Learn how to respond rather then react.
Too much emotion will lead you to an unproductive and inefficient place. When emotions get involved, you make it about yourself. Aren’t you leading for others?
5. Build a team with collaborating peers.
Don’t always be the only person making the decisions. This allows you to say that your team thought this was the best decision. It is hard to disagree with a whole team.
6. Criticism allows you to stop any fostering needs for approval.
Nothing will end your need for approval faster then criticism.
7. Your response will teach your naysayers to fight fair.
When you are calm and collected in your responses, people will cool down as well. With respect, demonstrate how to respond and not react to their claims. This posture is contagious.
8. Helps you focus on the important issues.
Criticism challenges your vision. You are forced to really know and understand your vision with your leadership.
9. It is a litmus test to the culture you are creating.
Are you casting the vision well? Are you helping people fish or are you teaching them how to fish?
10. Don’t respond right away.
It may be wise to think about it first before giving your answer. This will also diffuse the emotion other both sides.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what the criticism was about.
Only thing that matters is how you take it.