Leadership Derailers – Inability to Gain Advantage from Criticism

Criticism stings. But the inability to gain advantage from criticism derails leaders and organizations.

The closer you connect identity with performance, the more criticism offends.

Incompetence continues until criticism challenges current practices.

How to gain advantage from criticism:

#1. Courageously open your heart.

You can be an honest, caring, smart, visionary leader and suck at giving feedback, for example.

Defensiveness derails growth and development.

Listen closely to the voice of defensiveness and you’ll hear, “I don’t need to grow.”

The opposite of defensiveness is vulnerability.

7 sentences that accelerate growth:

  1. I’m not great at everything.
  2. I aspire to improve.
  3. I’m not as smart as I think I am.
  4. I’m not as right as I think I am.
  5. I could be wrong.
  6. Gee! Other people are better than me at some things.
  7. They could be right.
  8. Maybe there’s another way.

Growth begins when you release the illusion of effortless development.

#2. Don’t hide behind the imperfection of critics.

“The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Self-justifying leaders find fault with people who speak things they don’t want to hear. Fault-finding indicates closed ears.

If you don’t listen to imperfect others, you don’t listen to anyone. Blame and bravado are escape hatches that protect incompetence.

  1. People with faults and weaknesses have strengths and insight.
  2. There’s a little truth in most criticism.

#3. Release pressure of all-or-nothing thinking.

  1. Express gratitude. Gratitude isn’t agreement.
  2. Commit to reflection. “I’ll think about your comments.”
  3. Take notes.
  4. Seek positive suggestions. Don’t let critics claim high ground by only pointing out wrongs.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things.” Winston Churchill

What suggestions do you have for gaining advantage from criticism?

Bonus material:

10 Tips For Receiving Criticism with Grace (Psychology Today)

How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Professional (Business)