Try These 3 Ways to Benefit from Criticism

Nobody likes to be criticized, at least not at first. Sometimes criticism is warranted. Sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it hard to differentiate between the two. The writer of Proverbs implies that we should learn from and even seek out the beneficial wounds from our critics. “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). But when we need to heed a message from a critic, how can we position ourselves so that we can benefit from it? Below I suggest three ways we can do so.

1. Stay teachable.

We must be willing to let others tell us what we may not want to hear. We must cultivate an open, non-defensive heart. I’m trying to create such a culture among our staff through one of our key staff values: Continual growth and learning. We welcome constructive feedback. For a list of our staff values, read this blog post.

2. Keep accountable.

One way to stay open to the message from a critic is to develop a mentoring relationship with another person and/or use a coach. I meet with my personal coach each month via FaceTime. (I explain why every pastor should get a coach here.) He is free to ask me tough questions about my life and ministry. I’m also directly accountable to the chairman of the board. Without accountable relationships, we can easily miss our blind spots. I need someone in my life, including my wife, that cares enough about me to ask those tough questions and tell me what I may not want to hear.

3. Develop a bias toward action.

Tom Peters who co-wrote In Search of Excellence popularized this term. It simply means do something. In other words, when a critic tells us what we don’t necessarily want to hear but need to hear, a bias toward action means that we act on it. Learning from our critics means more than assuming a listening posture. It also includes a doing posture as well.

So the next time you get criticized, ask yourself what you need to learn from it, if it came from a less-than-friendly source get the perspective from someone who cares about you, and then act upon it.

What other quality do you believe leaders need to learn best from their critics?

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This article originally appeared on CharlesStone.com and is reposted here by permission.

Charles Stone
Charles Stonehttp://CharlesStone.com

As a pastor for over 43 years, Charles Stone served as a lead pastor, associate pastor and church planter in churches from 50 to over 1,000. He now coaches and equips pastors and teams to effectively navigate the unique challenges ministry brings. By blending biblical principles with cutting-edge brain-based practices he helps them enhance their leadership abilities, elevate their preaching/ teaching skills and prioritize self-care. He is the author of seven books. For more information and to follow his blogs, visit CharlesStone.com.