6: How to Handle Criticism and Opposition When it Comes

Being opposed for your leadership WILL happen.? It is just a matter of time.? Abraham Lincoln was a master at dealing with opposition.? Here is how he handled it.

“If I were to read, much lesAbraham-Lincoln-9382540-2-402s answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.? I do the very best I know how ? the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until then. If the end brings me out alright, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, 10,000 Angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”


That is probably not ALWAYS the right approach, but you in some positions that is all you can do!

Here is what I cover in this podcast:? I hope you will listen!

* Why we get criticized
* The source of a lot of criticism
* The manner in which we are criticized
* The best way to respond to criticism
* I am going to give you a great list at the end of 10 ways to diffuse a personal attack

I have been pounded by criticism from time to time in my career.? Have you?
You never know when or how it will come? like those depth charges trying to take out the uBoats:

It could come from?

Coast Guard unleashes a depth-charge
Criticism can sneak up on you like depth charges
  • a phone call
  • a personal visit
  • an email
  • a blog post
  • a text message
  • you name it…

One thing that at times freaks our followers is a big change program:
Top Ten Fears of Change

1. Fear of the unknown
2. Fear of loss or failure
3. Insecurity?I may be worse off
4. Power?I may lose some
5. Uncertainty and confusion?misunderstanding the intent of the change
6. Inertia?the status quo is strong
7. Energy and pressure?it takes more work and stresses us out
8. Money?it costs more to change things
9. Lack of trust?our leaders messed up before
10. Doubt?not sure this is the right direction to solve our problems

Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, observed, ?Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.?

Once you assume a leadership position, you are often thrust upon the followers, and they have to get to know you. Some will like you, and some won?t. You have to start by earning their trust. Some will have an easy time following your lead, but there will always be the few who just don?t care for you. Sometimes it?s just a matter of poor chemistry.

The fine art of resisting leaders:

There are many creative ways for people to oppose and resist your leadership. It?s not usually as open and confrontational as the story I just shared. Here?s the kind of behavior that routinely undermines leadership:

* Passive-aggressive behavior
* Rebellion?subtle or outright
* Disrespect
* Blocking mechanisms
* Side chatter and gossip
* The meeting after the meeting
* Spreading rumors
* Grumbling (see definition in the following pages)
* Subtle undermining
* Character assassinations
* Paying no attention to leaders

How do we respond?? For most of us, negatively

* quit
* run
* hide
* get depressed
* lash out in anger
* rationalization
* revenge
* fight back
* belittle
* shoot the messenger

What is the right thing to do??? How will you best handle criticism WHEN it comes? and come it will!

* Look for what you need to learn about your leadership.???? Look for the 5% of truth.

Ten ways to defuse a personal attack – Dr. Ken Williams

1. Keep Silent for Starters (John 19:9; Prov. 17:27?28; Isa. 53:7)
2. Think Before You React (Prov. 15:28; 29:20; James1:19?20)
3. Really Listen (Prov. 18:2?23; 19:20; James 1:19)
4. Respond Gently (Prov. 15:1; 16:21; 25:15)
5. Agree (Matt. 5:25; John 18:37) ?with whatever is true ?in principle ?with the possibility of truth
6. Give Caring Feedback (John 19:11; Prov. 15:1)
7. Ask Me for More Clarification (John 18:34; Matt. 5:39?41)
8. Avoid Quarreling (Eph. 4:31; Prov. 17:14)
9. Offer to Help (Matt. 5:40?41; Luke 6:27?28)
10. Ask for Forgiveness, If Appropriate (1 Sam. 15:24?30; 25:28)5

Leadership quote and book recommendation of the show:

Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, observed, ?Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.?

Leadership book recommendation of the show: Top Ten Leadership Commandments – Chapter Four, by Hans Finzel

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2 Responses

  1. Hans… Loved Podcasts 5 & 6. Two comments… enjoyed the idea of the box in Podcast 5, challenging leaders to take on big challenges. One other response to criticism is to completely shut down and avoid contact with the person who has criticized us. I know it’s not mature, but it’s certainly another response. Henry

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