No one really likes critique. Most leaders cringe when someone points out what they don’t like or agree with.
But, healthy leaders will welcome and receive critique…even from a person who is not kind in the way they express their concerns.
I am a local church pastor. This means I have a lot of people who feel they have the right and sometimes the obligation to tell me how they would have preached a sermon, what they would have done if they were in my role, and what I did wrong (in their estimation). What I have tried to do through the years (and not always successfully), is to glean any helpful insights I can from the critique of others. It is easier when a person comes with grace. But, it is still valuable to keep an open heart and ears when someone comes with hostility or even a mean spirit. Their immaturity does not mean that what they are saying is wrong.
So, here is the journey I am on. When someone comes with their personal evaluation or criticism, I try to listen, not say much, and then thank them for being willing to share what is on their heart. Then, I pray. I sift through what they said. I try to toss out what is untrue, unkind, or unhelpful. But, I hold on to what is valuable, true, and can help grow me as a leader.
One of the most vicious attacks I have ever received (and I don’t have time to tell the story right now) also became a catalyst for growth and maturity in my life. Most of what this couple said and did came out of their pain and was not true or helpful. But, there were a couple of lessons that God has used to grow me as a leader.
So, when I do my best to listen to critique, God wins and I grow!