No one enjoys receiving criticism. Criticism is generally viewed as negative. The purpose seems to be more about putting someone in their place than trying to really help them improve.
Criticism should not be something viewed as bad. Criticism allows us a means to determine credibility and authenticity. We often use the terminology “constructive criticism.”
Criticism is designed to show both weak and strong points.
Criticism also helps us see ourselves the way others see us.
The challenge for spiritual leaders is learning how to give and receive criticism.
When giving criticism, leaders should always be straightforward and honest, but tactful.
Criticism should be accompanied by suggestions for improvement.
Criticism should only emphasize major or recurring faults, and never to get even or vent emotion.
Our biggest challenge is learning how to receive criticism.
Keep a record and review the criticism.
Always receive criticism gracefully. Be genuine.
Learn to ask questions.
Do not quit! Instead, accept criticism as a challenge to improve.
When leaders learn how to give and receive criticism, the result brings growth for leaders and followers.
“The higher one is in leadership, the more their work is about the future.” Hanz Finzel
We are all aware of the challenge of living in the present. We often struggle with getting past the “here and now.”
We must lead now, but our leadership is about the future. Our work is about working with others to reach the goal. We need to consider several questions.
Do we know where we are going? Maybe you are thinking, ‘duh.’ Do we really know? Unless we know where we are going can we get there?
What is our plan to reach the destination? A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We cannot reach the destination unless we take that step. Each step needs to be part of the plan to reach our destination.
Are there resources available to help us? One of the most overlooked questions involves resources. If we do not know what resources are available we may not have enough to finish.
Have we assessed the abilities of everyone involved? Leaders need to know the abilities of everyone involved and use those abilities to reach the goal.
The Old Testament speaks of those capable of killing giants. Ten of the spies sent into Canaan caused Israel to fear the giants in the land. Their fear and complaining against Moses cost them entrance into the land. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
Israel’s army was also afraid of a giant and it took David to remove this fear.
One of David’s abilities as a leader was to surround himself with other giant killers.
Think about the 37 mighty men who served with David. No less than four of these men were involved in killing giants.
As we lead there will be giants who cross our paths. These giants will oppose our efforts to accomplish God’s will in leading others to heaven. They may take the form of financial obstacles, health challenges, differences of philosophy, and disgruntle followers.
Not only must we be able to overcome these situations, we need to surround ourselves with others who are able to help fight these battles and overcome.
Great leaders are able to see the qualities in others to accomplish the goal, even if taking out giants is necessary.
In a recent visit with a friend I was asked an interesting question. What is the best book you have read in the last six months, apart from the Bible? I was ashamed to think I had only read one book. It was a good book, but just one.
At the same time it reminded me of the importance of continuing to be a student.
I must admit, sitting down to read a book is not my favorite task. However, I know the value and necessity of being a continuous learner. There are several benefits to our leadership when we are reading.
We expose ourselves to the experience and wisdom of others.
We learn a number of new possibilities.
We expand our understanding in a variety of subjects.
We maintain a fresh perspective.
We develop a greater ability to think more widely.
We communicate in ways more well informed.
I am always thankful when I am challenged to improve who I am as a leader. Thank you Cy for reminding me of need to be a reader!
It has been said; “content makes poor men rich. Discontent makes rich men poor.” Read this statement again and give thought to the meaning. Contentment is challenging in a world continually offering more. We are bombarded by the thought of needing the newest, shiniest, fastest, and most powerful.
Will it ever end? What is needed for us to be content with what we have already? Paul understood the need to be content and the strength Christ provided to do so. He also reminded Timothy of the great gain achieved when godliness is accompanied by contentment.
The idea of contentment takes on a different meaning when thinking about our character and ability as leaders.
We must always be content with what we have, but never with who we are.
Leaders are constantly working to develop their abilities to lead.
As I travel and visit with men who serve in positions of leadership, the more I learn ways to improve my own abilities.
I am thankful to know men who are students of leadership and love talking about how we can grow in fulfilling this God given task.
One primary lesson of leadership is to know your greatest Ally. I was recently questioned in using this word because the student associated this word with someone who is beside you to help you. Exactly!
Leadership is not about trying to make things happen on our own. The minute we try to go at it alone, we are destined for failure.
When David faced Goliath he knew the One who was there to help him. Israel was cowering in fear because they had forgotten. Goliath came to the battle with his ability to fight. He was a warrior armed with a javelin, sword and spear. However, David came in the name of the living God of Israel. I would ask if you know who wins, but it is pretty obvious.
Do we as spiritual leaders know our greatest Ally? Is it obvious? As long as we come to the battle with the living God on our side, we cannot fail.
Paul reminds us of this truth in his letter to the church at Rome.
The lesson is powerful in application if we will live with this confidence.
“Courage isn’t done for the sake of being practical. It’s chosen for its own sake. As soon as you make courage practical, you’ve stolen its humanity.” Peter Block
Courage is a subject with application for everyone. At some point or another, we are going to face various situations and decisions where courage will be needed.
They may be personal or professional. Be assured, they will be part of every facet of life.
However, the question is how do we develop the courage to face them? It would be powerful if a step by step process for developing courage existed, but there is not.
Will expressing our fears help develop courage? Potentially!
Does facing what we fear most really develop courage? Probably not!
Courage is rarely developed, but rather the choice of the moment. When challenging obstacles or decisions are faced we must choose in that moment to act with courage.
The ability to act consistently with courage is a defining mark of great leadership.
Knowing who are God is will enable us to develop the greatest courage.