How you Handle Criticism Matters

One thing I have observed in working with leaders and from first hand experiences that when you are out front, you will indeed get kicked in the rear.

If you are leader (anyone with influence), others will always try to hold you back. There will always be critics. The question you need to ask yourself is, “How will I handle these critics?”

There are three general responses when leaders get criticized.

1) Dismiss it altogether
2) Defend their position
3) Fight back with everything they have

How do you normally respond when someone says something you don’t want to hear?

Regardless of you current position, you can always make changes if you want to. And since as a leader you will face criticism, you may as well learn how to hold up as best you can through these difficult experiences.

So where can you start? My mentor and Leadership expert John Maxwell discusses 4 basic ways you can stay strong in the face of critics and I want to share them along with my own personal experiences.

1) Know yourself

How well do you really know yourself? Have you ever taken time to really understand your strengths…….and your deficiencies? I know personally that I have had to face the truth of many of my weaknesses including impatience, lack of detail, and being unrealistic on how long projects will take. Knowing this has allowed me to accept the counsel of others in these areas and more.

Understanding and accepting your shortcomings will allow you take criticism in those areas with an open mind.

2) Change Yourself

I don’t know about you, but my first natural emotion when facing criticism is pain and possibly anger. At the same time, when you receive constructive criticism, it can also lead to positive change.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago in “The Only Critics That Count,” I discussed which critics (if any) you need to listen to. When you do realize that the critic is not out to hurt you, but to help improve you, it’s up to you to make the necessary changes to seek improvement.

3) Accept Yourself

As I stated above, you have strengths and you have weaknesses. Guest what, so does everyone else in the world. The next step in handling criticism is simply accepting yourself, both good and bad.

Accepting yourself requires self-confidence and maturity. If you need affirmations of others to feel validated or accepted, criticism will always be like a weight dragging you down.

4) Forget Yourself

I am not going to lie, I do still care what people think of me, but as I approach forty years on this earth, I have come to realize that how others think of me is far less important than how I can best serve others.

When you focus on serving others, you take the pressure from yourself and at the same time add more value to everyone around you. Focusing on critics will take up much of your precious time, energy, and emotional capital.

The Bottom Line

As Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily–by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” If you are reading this, you aspire to be and do more and with that will come criticism.

The question is, “How will you let your critics affect you?” You can’t change the critics, but you do have full control over your response.

Question: How do you normally handle criticism? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This is one of the many subjects that I discuss with business and organizations during my “Leadership Catalyst Experience.”  Schedule your free 20-minute discovery session now.  

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