Criticism comes your way almost every day if you’re in leadership.
The guy in the back row didn’t like your last message. Another person wonders what all you people in ministry actually do with your time.
Someone you barely know leaves a snarky remark on your Facebook. A pseudonymous troll leaves a scathing comment on your blog. Or a colleague pulls you aside to comment on the way you handled the last meeting.
Like me, you probably live under the false hope that you can lead in a way that will lead to universal approval. You live with the faint hope that you can be clever enough, faithful enough and deft enough to avoid the critics.
And you’d be wrong.
Actually, there’s only one way to avoid criticism in your life: do nothing significant.
As soon as you do something significant—in other words, as soon as you begin to lead—you’ll draw critics.
Do anything significant and the critics will come running.
So how do you handle the critics without losing your mind, your temper or getting so discouraged that you pack it in?
How to Tackle Your Critics
In all likelihood, your natural responses to criticism and critics will be unhealthy. At least my natural responses are.
Here are five ways to tackle your critics and the criticism that comes your way.
1. Don’t let the critics crush your heart.
The biggest challenge I have is not letting criticism go to my heart.
Almost by default, when someone criticizes what I’ve done, I take it personally. Too personally.
I let the critic deflate whatever amount of air was left in the balloon. I ignore all the encouragement that has come my way and obsess over the complaint.
Chances are your reaction is the same.
You’ve likely never lost sleep because you were overwhelmed with compliments. But you have lost sleep because of one measly complaint.
As Tim Keller has said, when our identity is wrapped up in our work, success goes to our heads and failure goes to our heart.
As I outlined in this post, leaders should always take leadership seriously, but not too personally.
What you do is not who you are. Your calling is not your identity.
When you get that right … your heart stays healthier in leadership.
And it’s so important to keep your heart alive and beating for the mission to which you’re called.
When you lose heart, you lose hope. And when you lose hope, you stop leading.
So guard your heart.