Tackling Armchair Quarterbacks

Receiving criticism indicates you’re doing something. Get used to it.

Armchair quarterbacks carry the burden of knowing what should have been done.

Armchair quarterbacks know what you should have done and how you should have done  it. Furthermore, they are glad to share their wisdom and insights with sympathetic listeners but they won’t share the burden of actually throwing the ball. They strut and posture from the side-lines.

In some cases, you invited their criticism by excluding them. You didn’t invite their input or participation. Worse yet, they felt ignored when they spoke.

The only power disenfranchised
people own is disruption.

In other cases, you invited their input but they rejected the direction you’re leading.

In all cases, armchair quarterbacks wrongly believe they have deep insights. They:

  1. Know more about you than you.
  2. Understand you better than you understand yourself.
  3. Know why you are doing what you are doing. They suggest you are wrong, stupid, weak, evil, selfish, or all five.
  4. Know what you should do.
  5. Know how you should do it.

What to do:

  1. Stop believing you always know what’s best. If you’re the smartest person in your organization, your organization is in peril.
  2. Realize all collisions are rooted in conflicting values. Find alignment where possible.
  3. Make tough choices kindly.
  4. Fully and unselfishly align yourself with what’s best for the organization, without reserve or hesitation.
  5. Maintain optimism. It beats the alternative.
  6. Never lie, lash out, envy, slander, or put on a façade, ever. Move on.
  7. Humbly submit to noble values. Arrogance offends.
  8. Clarify vision.
  9. Serve. Belligerence and dominance always offend.
  10. Build strong alliances.
  11. Maintain openness regarding methods. It doesn’t have to be your way or the highway.
  12. Never blame. Blame is the temptation of cowards.

What do you do when you feel criticized, judged, or misunderstood?