Responding To Haters

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If you are a leader, you will have haters. You will be misunderstood. You will be criticized. Not everyone is going to like you and your methods. Some will question your motives. You will be misquoted. People will make up stuff about you. Some will be out to get you. A few will try to take you down or run you out of town. It has happened to me, it has happened to every leader, and it will happen to you. Welcome to leadership! So...how do we respond to our haters? In my coaching with hundreds of leaders, I have worked with them often to not only do the right thing but do it the right way. This includes how we respond to our haters. Today I offer:

7 Ways To Respond To Our Haters:

Don’t take haters so personal.

Haters comes with  the territory. Don’t take it so personal. Embrace the fact that you will always have a few haters. The only way you can make everyone happy is have no vision or direction. The moment you declare a vision and direction, or make a decision,  not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Don’t allow every post, comment, email, or word send you into a tailspin. Don’t be so insecure! Embrace some criticism. Develop thicker skin. Every leader I know has haters. Accept it as part of your leadership. The greatest leaders I know have an emotional fortitude that leads through criticism, not in the absence of it.

Don’t hide from your haters.

When we are hurt, our tendency is to hide, but it’s the worst thing we could do in the moment. If we hide, we only give haters more fuel. Show up. Do your job. Stay in the public eye. Show the world (and especially your heaters) you have no plans to tuck tail and run. Focus on the next thing. Don’t allow this to consume your time or your thoughts. The sideways energy could affect your entire organization. Don’t allow it to become your focus. Focus on the blocking and tackling of your leadership. Do the next right thing. Be faithful in your tasks. Traction equals satisfaction.

Don't Become A Hater. 

How do you ultimately respond to your haters? You don't!  When you’re hated on, you’re going to be tempted to become a hater.  Don’t give into that temptation! Take the high road. Turn the other cheek. Don’t react or even respond to your heaters. Don’t take to social media. When you react or even respond, it makes you look more insecure. When you sling manure, you get manure on you.

Outlast Your Haters.  

Strive for a good track record from this day forward. Be a person of character and integrity from this day forward. Outlast your haters through courage, determination, and consistency in the long run. Your overall track record is your greatest defense. Over time, this will calm down. This will blow over. This will go away. This will all be largely forgotten, if you are consistent. So stay the course. Overwhelm your critics through your consistency. 

Learn From Your Haters. 

Leaders are not perfect and that includes you. Haters are partly our fault. We always could have handled things a little differently.  We would do it a little differently next time. We need to learn how to do the right thing the right way next time. We need to be knocking the rough edges off of our leadership. In the long run, haters make us better! Confront your mistakes, but don't be condemned by them. Acknowledge them and give yourself some grace. Grace is not just a theological truth. It’s something we must experience for ourselves in our leadership. 

Forgive and Pray For Your Haters.

They may never recognize the hurt they have caused. They may never admit fault. They may never ask for forgiveness. You still need to forgive: For your sake, for those closest to you, and for the sake of your relationship with God. Don’t allow sin to cause sin. Don’t allow haters to turn you into one.  They may not deserve to be forgiven, but neither do you, and God forgave you! Forgive them because God has forgiven you. Pray for your haters. Bless those who persecute you. Jesus commanded us to do this. Releasing people to God is a choice.

Don't Dwell On Your Haters. 

Stop dwelling on the hurt. Stop dwelling on what could’ve and should’ve been. Stop thinking and and talking about it. No one has ever changed the world by dwelling on their past! It’s a new day. Don’t allow the past to negatively affect your future. You will recover. We will recover. Not everyone is a hater!  Most people are for you and with you!  They are depending on you! Get everyone focused on the next big thing. If you don’t have a next big thing on the horizon, come up with one. It will be good for everyone to sink their teeth into building a bigger, brighter future. Don't dwell on your haters! Get focused on the future.  You have a job to do. Let's go!