Dealing with Critics, Critiques, and HatersAug 10, 2022
One of the realities of leadership is that you WILL face opposition.
There are two things leaders do which open them to criticism.
#1 = Leaders clearly COMMUNICATE vision
The moment you talk with clarity about where you’re going, you face opponents.
The #1 mistake leaders make is moving forward with a lack of clarity.
When you define a vision, you— by default— communicate things that are NOT the vision.
#2 = Leaders CONFRONT the status quo
Leaders think about— and talk about— how things CAN and SHOULD be, rather than how things are.
And, they necessitate change.
The fact is that every organization currently experiences the results which stand in complete alignment with their structure and their systems.
Leaders take people where they NEED to go, not necessarily where they WANT to go. And that means you inevitably bump into opposition.
That leads us to the third point— something leaders need to do as they continually communicate vision and confront the status quote. Namely….
#3 = Leaders should embrace CRITIQUES and CRITICISM
Both of these are important— and they’re different:
- Criticism comes from people who are again you. It comes from critics.
- Critiques comes from people who are “for” you. They might be fans, they might be staff members, or they might be friends or family.
People who love you and the organization offer you critiques. And these ideas are helpful— because the people are clearly “for” you and the organization.
Don’t avoid those who are for you— even when they offer critiques (again, healthy teams embrace conflict and learn from each other).
But DO avoid the critics.
All that said, let’s talk about how to respond to the haters— the EXTREME version of CRITICS.
(This is the group which will misquote, make-up, and malign you.)
Want to know what to do?
There are seven ways to respond to haters.
#1 = Don’t take haters so personally.
They come with the territory.
The only way to NOT have haters is to NOT declare a vision and implement directional decisions.
Then develop thicker skin.
The more time you spend focused on haters, the more sideways energy you expend. Stay focused on your vision.
#2 = Don’t hide from your haters.
Lead through it.
Don’t allow it to consume you or your energy. Keep moving onward.
Do the next right thing.
And never become a hater of the haters.
#3 = Don’t become a hater.
Never stoop to their level to “show them.”
When you react to a hater it takes you to their level. And when you sling manure, you get as much on you as they do on them.
#4 = Outlast your haters.
Your track record will eventually speak for itself.
The truth is that you probably did NOT do everything right in the past (which is why you can learn from critiques.).
Eventually, they’ll get tired and quit.
#5 = Overwhelm your haters with consistency.
Over time, your track record— and your consistency— will overwhelm your critics.
#6 = Learn from your haters.
The reality is that haters are, many times, partly our fault. We could have ALWAYS handled things better. That is, there’s always room for improvement.
Give yourself grace— even when there is an element of truth in what the haters say.
(A close accountability team or coach will help you objectively discern which parts you can learn from and which parts you should flush from your memory.)
Learn what you can, when you can.
And then do it better then next time.
#7 = Forgive your haters.
They likely don’t realize the hurt they’ve caused you. And, in fact, they may feel justified in their hate.
In reality, though, we all need grace.
The bigger picture is…
The bigger reality is that most people are FOR you. The haters may make the most noise, but the vast majority of people believe in you and love the progress you are making.
And, one of the best ways to leave haters behind is to move towards a brighter future— one in which those particular haters don’t exist.
(Don’t worry, you’ll find another breed of haters in that new reality! They always come with the territory of leadership.)
This video is module 17 of The Catapult.
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