Criticism is just a natural part of life.  Leaders especially will draw criticism to themselves when they chart a new course or make a difficult decision.  It is never fun to be criticized but leaders must expect it as part of their role.

The question is not whether you will be criticized but rather what you will do with that feedback.

For example, you could choose to take it personally.  You could assume that the feedback you are receiving is because the person does not like you and wants you to fail.  This perspective will lead to being defensive and does not allow us to benefit from the insight shared.

Instead, you can look at the feedback as an opportunity to learn.  Feedback is not always correct but within the feedback may be a nugget of information we need to hear and consider.  Just like gems that must be mined within the rock, the valuable feedback we seek is often cloaked in criticism.

To access the “gold nuggets” within criticism we must follow these tips:

*Listen to understand versus trying to defend

*Ask questions to understand their perspective prior to responding

*Ask yourself, what can I learn from their perspective?

*Avoid throwing everything because you disagree with their perspective

Conflict is difficult at the best of times, but how we respond will have a tremendous impact on whether we are able to benefit from these moments.  Criticism can also create stronger confidence and capability within us.  If we work through challenges, and conflict not only will we be stronger, but our relationships will be stronger as well.

Leaders must capture the gold nuggets, release the rest, and determine that they will welcome feedback even when it stretches them.  This determination and commitment will enrich our leadership, our organizations, and our teams.  Embrace the opportunity!