Every leader hears both personal and organizational criticism. Personal criticism is directed toward leaders themselves and organizational criticism focuses on the organizations they lead.
Here’s how to get the most from organizational criticism
#1. Take organizational criticism personally. Don’t blame systems, programs, or people. You are responsible for your organization. Blocking criticism by blaming others protects your ego and chokes organizational potential.
#2. Don’t use the big picture to defend against “small” criticisms. When I receive criticism, my favorite place to hide is behind larger organizational goals. It’s easy to silence a critic because they don’t understand the big picture.
#3. Don’t deflect criticism with progress. Explaining organizational progress isn’t an answer to criticism it’s an excuse for mediocrity.
#4. Ask critics for solutions.
#5. Remember critics over-state. They say things like, “Everyone and always.” You’ll get the most from criticism if you let all-inclusive statements slide.
#6. Explain your response. Frequently your response is, “I need more information. Or, I’ll take this to the leadership team.” If you can’t address their criticism, tell them.
#7. Follow up with your critic.
#8. Reject criticisms that don’t enhance your mission, vision, and goals. If your mission is changing lives with tee shirt logos, reject critics who complain that you aren’t changing lives with bumper stickers.
#9. Ignore constant critics. They aren’t interested in making things better. They’re interested in complaining. Don’t be rude. Say, “Thank you for your feedback.” Then move on.
#10. Don’t become a critic driven organization. Some critics have selfish motives. They’re protecting their turf, making their own lives easier, undermining others, and hindering organizational objectives. In this case, use the big picture to silence selfish critics.
How do you think leaders get the most from criticism? How would you criticize the list I’ve offered?