Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 203

If you're not being criticized for the work that you do, you're not doing the work that needs to be done.#QuoteADay #Day203 #edchat #ASCDL2L

Criticism is a funny thing.  Some of us tend to deal better with it than others, and it takes a major mind shift to truly see it as something that we need, and something that will make us better at what we do.

In fact, it stands to reason that if we aren’t being criticized for the work that we’re doing, than it is very likely that we are doing the wrong work.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to make as many people as possible happy, but in reality, making everyone happy is a goal that can never be reached.  Better to set sights on a change that will make life better for the majority of stakeholders, than spend all our time constantly trying to appease everyone.

In reading a great book by Alvy and Robbins (Learning From Lincoln), the authors discuss one of Lincoln’s lessons in that great work doesn’t necessarily equate to supreme happiness for all.  In citing Lincoln’s changing view of slavery, the authors discuss how what was an extremely unpopular view in many parts of the country became Lincoln’s vision for the only way that the union could continue its existence.

It’s clear that Lincoln was a person who enjoyed being liked, and who also like people, in general.  What’s also clear is that Lincoln realized that it was more important to do truly great work that would benefit the many, then worry about being liked, individually.

As leaders, we should welcome criticism, as we know, with its arrival (and even if it isn’t constructive), that people are paying attention to the work that we’re doing, and it is making a difference.  Of course, we also have to remember that before we make truly adaptive or proactive changes, we have to build the capacity for this work.  While some may never be happy with the changes we make, we stand to be better prepared, when we’ve already shared the importance of this work with our charges.

So take solace in all the criticism that you receive (even when it is particularly biting).  It lets you know that you’re doing truly emotional work, and hopefully work, that will make the lives of many better, even if it is at the expense of a few.

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