As a leader I want to see more early adopters in our world. Leaders change things…followers…well …followers follow change. So it can be very frustrating to a leader when he introduces change and it’s met with a less than favorable response. But wise leaders have an appreciation for the various change reactions. There are basically three responses to change, each one needed, each playing an important role in the change process.
First is Criticism – Many times change is met with criticism. It’s usually from the late adapter who has “concerns”. Typically this reaction creates awkward moments, uncomfortable conversations and raises levels of mistrust.
However, I would suggest that this is a valuable and necessary reaction. Criticism, especially done in the right spirit, can help improve an idea, identify the potential pitfalls, and give us wisdom. Solomon warned in Proverbs 19:20, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.” This is difficult, but a leader must learn to look at criticism as a gift. It’s not easy for us as leaders to look at the weaknesses, faults or disadvantages of our idea. While we can’t let the critic stop a God-ordained idea, we can benefit from some of their perspective.
The critic also adds value in the sense that he tests the convictions of the leader. If you gives up because of criticism, then you may not have had the staying power to really bring about the intended change anyway. But if you endure through the criticism it demonstrates to all those who follow you the power of your conviction.
What is your reaction to criticism? Do you use it to add wisdom…or do you just criticize your critic?