Quotable Monday: Criticism

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”– Winston Churchill

What is your natural reaction to criticism? What do you do when someone comes to you and tells you that “you’re doing it wrong?”

When I am approached and told I need to get my act together, my natural reaction is one of bitterness and resentment. If I am in a position of power, such as a moderator of a forum or a chat room, my instinct is to remove the person who is offending me simply because I don’t like them. This, to me, is a selfish abuse of power.

Here is something to try. If you are in a position of power, chances are people will criticize you. Either because you did something they disapproved of, or you failed to act when they expected you to. We’re human, so we make mistakes like this a lot. Next time it happens, don’t make a snap decision. Don’t remove the problem, but consider their argument. Consider the possibility that they are right, and you are wrong. Humility can go a long way as a leader, and will go a long way for your followers who look up to you.

And if you are in a space where no criticism is ever directed at you or other staff members, maybe you should consider why – are people afraid to speak up? Are they afraid to voice their concerns? If this is the case, then perhaps it is time for change.

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