Wisdom for Surviving Criticism

“So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once….” (Num. 11:15 )

Do you know who made that statement? He was one of the most outstanding leaders who took on one of the most daunting tasks in all of history. Those are the words of Moses expressing how he felt just a few months after leading a nation of people out of bondage following generations of enslavement. While it is not a happy request it expresses how Moses actually felt after the continuous barrage of constant complaints by those he led. The same man who stood face to face with Pharoah, performed miracles by God’s mighty hand, and led a nation to freedom, was so fed up that death was beginning to look like a credible alternative. He was in essence stating; “I don’t know if I can take this anymore!”

Perhaps you have a thick skin and you are not bothered by the complaints of those who follow you. But it can wear a leader down if he or she does not have a good understanding of leadership dynamics, including both the blessings and the downside of being the person out front. Criticism can zap your energy and cause loss of focus. It can also make you stronger if you can receive it in the correct context.

You may not be “pre-wired” to ignore criticism. But you can learn to deal with it and hopefully be made better by it. Here are some things I once read from Reggie McNeal as he sought to help leaders learn how to face criticism. He said…

  1. Expect an “entrance exam.” Early on, every leader receives an “invitation” to opt for something easier. Jesus faced it in the wilderness. Let your choice, like His, reaffirm God’s calling. Leadership is not easy and if it were, then everyone would step up. They don’t but you should.
  2. Don’t expect “romance.” The quicker you drop unrealistic expectations, the better. Don’t look for a “pass” when it comes to being mistreated. It’s a normal part of your job as a leader.
  3. Look past it. Runners do it; dieters do it. You can look past pain if you know it’s getting you closer to a worthy goal/vision.
  4. Weigh (don’t count) your critics. A critic from the fringe means far less than a critic from the core.
  5. Sift out the real issue. It’s not always about you, even when you’re on the receiving end of it. Good leaders (like good parents) know some reactions are just adolescent disappointment, lack of understanding, or immaturity.

 Good words of wisdom for those who desire to maximize their leadership.



July 10, 2017 – The Main Reason You May Feel Burned Out

Dear fellow leaders and workers;