It’s Up To You!
Raise your hand if any of the following describe you.
- You are at peace with everyone. Every relationship is as sweet as fudge. Even your old flames speak highly of you. Love all and are loved by all. Is that you?
- You have no fears. Call you the Teflon toughie. Wall Street plummets – no problem. Heart condition discovered – yawn. Does this describe you?
- You need no forgiveness. Never made a mistake. As square as a game of checkers. As clean as grandma’s kitchen. Is that you? No?
Since criticism is a part of leadership, you need to learn how to handle it constructively. The following has helped me to deal with criticism, so I pass it on to you.
I hope it helps you gain perspective as much as it did for me! Thanks for stopping by!
When You Get Kicked in the Rear, You Know You’re Out in Front
Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Obviously, that isn’t an option for anyone who wants to be successful as a leader.
Good leaders are active, and their actions often put them out front. That often draws criticism. When spectators watch a race, where do they focus their attention? On the front-runners! People watch their every action—and often criticize.
Do you really know yourself? Are you aware of your weaknesses as well as your strengths? Where do you fall short as a person and leader? Not sure what your weaknesses are? Ask five trustworthy people close to you. They’ll be able to tell you where you come up short.
Know the criticism – and the critics.
When you receive criticism, how do you tell if it’s constructive or destructive? (Some say constructive criticism is when I criticize you, but destructive criticism is when you criticize me!) Here are the questions I ask to get to determine what kind of criticism it is:
- Who criticized me? Adverse criticism from a wise person is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. The source often matters.
- How was it given? I try to discern whether the person was being judgmental or whether he gave me the benefit of the doubt and spoke with kindness.
- Why was it given? Was it given out of a personal hurt or for my benefit? Hurting people hurt people; they lash out or criticize to try to make themselves feel better, not to help the other person.
Stay open to change.
Let’s assume you now know yourself pretty well. You can tell when a criticism is way off-base; maybe it’s directed more at your position than at you. And you know when a criticism is 100% legitimate because it’s about a weakness that you’ve already discovered.
But what about the gray areas? The criticisms that might hold a grain of truth? A good leader stays open to improvement by:
- Not being defensive,
- Looking for the helpful grain of truth,
- Making the necessary changes, and
- Taking the high road.
Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk polio vaccine, had many critics in spite of his incredible contribution to medicine. Of criticism, he observed, “First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and that what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time.”
How do leaders who are out front handle this kind of fickle response from others?
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
If you have endeavored to know yourself, and have worked hard to change yourself, then what more can you do?
The final step in the process of effectively handling criticism is to stop focusing on yourself. Secure people forget about themselves so they can focus on others. By doing this, they can face nearly any kind of criticism—and even serve the critic.
This story was originally posted on: John Maxwell On Leadership.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
About Matt Sileno: Matt Sileno, the President/Founder of The Intuitive Group, Inc. is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. He has taken his small Sales and Marketing Firm to new heights working directly with Fortune 100 companies across the U.S. Follow Matt Sileno on Twitter and Facebook!
- Deepak Chopra On Enlightened Leadership (blogs.forbes.com)
- Looking for Leaders: 4 Pivotal Insights on How to Hire Good Leaders (psychologytoday.com)
- How to Manage Criticism Effectively (sixrevisions.com)
- the wisdom to know the difference (moritherapy.org)
- My Own “Facebook Obsession” (webpronews.com)
- “How Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” Was Composed” and related posts (reason.com)
About The Intuitive Group, Inc.
The Intuitive Group, Inc. is headed by CEO & Founder Matt Sileno and headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. The company specializes in direct marketing by bringing products and services directly to consumers. The company works with team members from day one to train them for the job and for the rest of their lives. The skills gained help team members excel in the company and in life. The Intuitive Group, Inc. is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), adhering to BBB Code of Business Practices dedicated to sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. For more information about The Intuitive Group, Inc. please visit