Standing Up to Your Greatest Critic

“Jeff, when you’re a leader, there’s going to be at least one person at any given time who thinks he was put on this earth to be your greatest critic.”

This nugget of wisdom came from Jeff’s mentor many years ago as Jeff assumed the first of many influential leadership positions of his career. It’s now many years later and Jeff is the CEO for a successful, mid-sized company. He relayed this story to me as we sat in his office discussing the ups and downs of leading a growing enterprise.

“That’s some of the best advice I got early in my career,” Jeff continued. “As a leader you need know what you stand for, because no matter what, somebody’s not going to like your position on an issue.” According to Jeff, it’s this clarity of principle that helps him stand firm when the going gets tough, and allows him to deal with critics.

Ken Blanchard voiced a similar thought recently during a webinar hosted by Charlene Li. Titled Leadership Lessons: The Power of Relationships in the Facebook Era, Ken talked about the concept of leaders needing to be very clear about what they stand for. He calls this “developing one’s leadership point of view” and has written about it extensively over the past several years.

There are innumerable leadership “points of view”; in fact, you’ll see many of them voiced here at the Lead Change blog. While we can certainly identify leadership points of view that are self-serving, this blog chooses to focus instead on vantage points that are selfless—those that seek to better an interaction, a life, a vision.

Regardless of whether or not we hold an official leadership title, we all have a leadership point of view. When your point of view is called into question, are you confident you can stand up to your greatest critic?

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