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:
- I’m not great at everything.
- I aspire to improve.
- I’m not as smart as I think I am.
- I’m not as right as I think I am.
- I could be wrong.
- Gee! Other people are better than me at some things.
- They could be right.
- 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.
- People with faults and weaknesses have strengths and insight.
- There’s a little truth in most criticism.
#3. Release pressure of all-or-nothing thinking.
- Express gratitude. Gratitude isn’t agreement.
- Commit to reflection. “I’ll think about your comments.”
- Take notes.
- 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?
10 Tips For Receiving Criticism with Grace (Psychology Today)
How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Professional (Business)
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We hear that so often…. “who are you to criticize me?”
I love how you explained the thought process and missed opportunities when we label the door.
Thanks Bob. “Who are you to criticize me,” is the expression I was looking for. Well said. A sense of superiority is permission to ignore others.
Assume positive intent. Have the attitude—-This person is trying to help me!
Thanks Paul. Yes. It might feel naive to assume positive intent, but it takes you further than constant skepticism.
Dan–I’ve been growing in this area. So much can be learned by allowing your team and others to say what is obvious to all but “blind” to me. Not been easy–but I’ve been growing in this grace. Love the Churchill quote linking to pain in the body–so true. That will teach!!
Thanks Scott. The idea that we “grow” in this area helps us adjust our expectations. Learning to benefit from criticism is a process that takes time. I’m not sure we ever fully learn this principle. We keep relearning it because criticism hurts.
What not to do.
1: send flaming email rebuking the input.
2: blame the person who provided the input.
3: stop talking to the person.
4: share your anger with a coworker.
So maybe my first full week of the new year I have got all the mistakes of 2020 out of the way and from this point forward I will be amazing. Lots of good things in this message Dan and extremely timely, should had read it before sending my flaming email.
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So timely! We are preparing to share our Team Member Engagement Results and this will be perfect in facilitating the conversation. Love #2 don’t hide behind the imperfection of others.