Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Steps to handle the critic

Can you handle your critics? As leaders, it's a guarantee we will encounter the critic -- if we are sticking our head above the crowd. In 1989, Arkansas businessman Jerry Jones purchased one of the NFL’s top franchise – the Dallas Cowboys. Jones was criticized because he fired the hall of Fame coach and brought in his former Arkansas Razorback teammate – Jimmy Johnson. Jones shook things up within the franchise and created hard feelings. But Jones did not let the critics deter him from achieving his goal of building a winning team. Jones' Cowboys team won three Superbowls in the Nineties. Here are tips we can use to deal with critics:

Go higher. Going back to Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys ..he handled his critics by raising the bar. He chose to stand above the crowd and make deals that would forever change the face of the NFL. He created deals with companies that brought in more revenue for his team and the the league. Dan Pompei of The Sporting News writes, "Jones has been a pioneer in marketing his team...at the forefront of the whole concept of making games a corporate event."

Don’t waste all your time defending yourself. Our critics probably don’t care about our defense anyway. As the saying goes, “you tell them till you’re blue in the face, it won’t matter.” Just imagined if Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates spent all this time defending himself against his critics, he would not have time to create innovative products. George Foreman proved naysayers wrong by winning Olympic gold in boxing, not trying to persuade others of his greatness. Foreman let his actions in the ring do the talking. I remember an unsuccessful campaign for the board of a large nonprofit group. During the bid, I spent a bunch of time defending my self against the critics, but little time on strategic planning. This was a costly lesson.

Don’t let the fear of what others might say keep you back. We've all heard the crabs in the buck story hundreds of time. Just as the crabs in the bucket try to prevent others from escaping the barrel, there are people with the same attitude. They will say things behind your back, challenge you and criticize your ideas—all with intention of keeping you down. My parents told me this growing up, but I did not want to believe there were negative people out there trying hold others back. In my first year of college, I discovered my what my parents were saying was true –they were brilliant.

Handling critics is not an easy task. However if we plan to achieve our goals and dreams, we will have to learn to deal with them. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt says, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."

No comments: