Raising the level of your leadership

The Kitchen Is Always Hot

The kitchen is always hot for leaders. Leadership is not for the thin-skinned who wither every time the critics show up. If you are “in the arena” (as Pres. T. Roosevelt called it), criticism is certain.

According to Greek philosopher Aristotle there is only one way to avoid it: “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by…doing nothing.” So since you are certain to be criticized, the real issue is #1 should you respond and #2 how to respond.

Laurence J. Peter, author of The Peter Principle, said it this way: “Speak when you are angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” So go slowly and be calm.

Before taking it personally, have you taken the time to correctly identify the target of the criticism?

Considering the source of the criticism, is it worth considering at all? Is it from external or internal sources?

What is the motive of the critics? Is it possible they are well-intentioned?

Rather than reject it out of hand, have you honestly examined whether it could be true or not?

If you decide you need to respond, why? Will a response accomplish anything positive, or just inflame the critics?

If you decide to respond, follow these guidelines:

  • The target of your response should be the criticism, not the critic.
  • The purpose of your response should be to elevate truth, not self.
  • The tone of your response should be to build up, not tear down.

Whatever you do, don’t let criticism turn you into a critic.

This post is abbreviated from chapter 10 of 16 Stones. Click here for order information.

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© Copyright 2021 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company

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  • On Leading Well…

    "The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."

    Kouzes & Posner


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