Thursday, December 12, 2013

John Maxwell: 4 Steps to Handling Criticism by: John C. Maxwell-Part #1/2

Effective leaders can't please everyone, but they can make criticism constructive. 

I grew up in a wonderful, loving, positive family. I don’t ever recall my parents criticizing anyone. It just wasn’t allowed in our family. So you can imagine the transition I had to make when I got out on my own and began to receive the stinging criticisms of those I was leading. In fact, one of the most difficult emotional hurdles I faced was in handling criticism. And finally a wise old friend told me, “John, if you’re getting kicked in the rear it means you’re out front.” What he was saying was if you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to be criticized. So get used to it. 

The price of leadership is criticism. No one pays much attention to the last-place finishers. But when you’re in front, everything gets noticed. So it is important to learn to handle criticism constructively. The following four-step process, which I included in my book Leadership Gold, has helped when people criticize me as a leader. I would like to pass it on to you. 

Know yourself—This is a reality issue. 

Change yourself—This is a responsibility issue. 

Accept yourself—This is a maturity issue. 

Forget yourself—This is a security issue. 

1: Know Yourself Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.” Early in my career, I wanted to make everybody happy. It took me a couple of years to realize that if I was going to lead, there would be tough decisions that were going to make some people upset. I asked myself: Do I want to make people happy or do I really want to lead? I understood clearly that I had to begin to know who I was. Over the years, people have tried to help me know myself. They often begin with the phrase, “I’m going to tell you something for your own good.” I’ve discovered that when they tell me something for my own good they never seem to have anything good to tell me! Yet, it’s these conversations that have helped me learn much about myself, including many weaknesses. I have realized that what I need to hear most is what I want to hear the least. And some of the best people who ever entered my life to teach me something were my critics, not my friends. 

2: Change Yourself In the process of handling criticism effectively, you not only need to know yourself but you have to change yourself. Aldous Huxley said, “The truth that makes you free is, for the most part, the truth we would prefer not to hear.” The John Maxwell translation of this is simple: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.\ 

Here are the questions I ask myself to determine whether criticism is constructive or destructive. 

Who criticized me? Adverse criticism from a wise person is more desirable than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. 

How was it given? Were the words judgmental or did they give me the benefit of the doubt? In other words, what was the spirit in which the criticism was given? 

Why was it given? Was it given to inflict a personal hurt or for my benefit? 

Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine, had many critics in spite of his grand accomplishments. He once made this interesting observation: “People will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing is really not important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and what you are doing is very important. But after all, they knew it all the time.” 

Regardless whether the criticism was legitimate or not, I have discovered that my attitude toward words I do not want to hear determines whether I grow from them or groan beneath them. Therefore, I have determined to not be defensive when criticized, to look for the grain of truth, make the necessary changes and take the high road.

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GJ Reynolds also known as “G” is a Passionate, Playful & Powerful Warrior Entrepreneur, Author, and Life Transformer. He is also a Visalus Founding Promoter, Ambassador, Co-Founder of the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge, business developer, coach, mentor, trainer, public speaker and radio host. He teaches others how to have fun reclaiming their Life, Health & Prosperity! G is driven to assist others to reach their full potential and having their magnificence to shine. He loves to teach and work with like-minded entrepreneurs and professionals who choose to reclaim their personal power and transform their life, health and prosperity. He lives a life of purpose, on purpose and for purpose. He enjoys the process of his personal, spiritual, and professional journey, while assisting others to do the same. G is at his best when he is learning, teaching, inspiring, creating, organizing, and leading the way! He also enjoys communicating with others that are of like mind and is on a mission to assist millions of people to transform their lives! Need a little help?

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GJ Reynolds and/or SimplyG, and/or Beachlifestyle, 
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