What Lightning Rods Teach Us About Leadership (Part Two)

Lightning-RodYesterday, I posted Part One of a two-part series called, “Lightning Rods.” I suggested that lightning rods are a picture of healthy leadership—especially when critics attack. You likely know that those rods on top of buildings attract the lightning strike and ground it so it doesn’t damage the building. In the same way, leaders take the hit (criticism) to prevent their teams from damage.

Today, I’d like you to reflect on the following nine ideas on handling criticism as a leader. Are you a good lightning rod for your team?

Check out these thoughts…

1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.
Do they want to help you or hurt you? Can you see any redemptive outcome from it?

 2. Recognize that people act out what they are experiencing inside. It may not be about you.
Hurting people naturally hurt people. Intimidated people intimidate. What’s inside comes out.

 3. Remember that good people get criticized.
Some of the finest leaders in history were attacked. You’re in good company.

 4. Don’t just see the critic, see the crowd.
Don’t let minority rule. Are others feeling the same way as the critic or are they isolated?

5. Eat the fish and spit out the bones.
Digest the criticism and act on anything that’s accurate. Improve what you can. Discard the rest.

6. Trust God and wait for time to prove them wrong.
Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” was considered shameful and poorly written at the time.

7. Act don’t react. Don’t get defensive.
Don’t let their emotion dictate yours. Thank them for their opinions. Take the high road.

 8. Seek wise counsel from others.
Consult with other leaders to see what kernels of truth might be in the criticism.

9. Concentrate on your mission, change your mistakes.
Many leaders get so frazzled when criticized that they do the opposite.

One last thought. Many people today have never seen a healthy leader deal with criticism or conflict in a redemptive way. You may be the first lightning rod they’ve experienced. May your storms build even more healthy leaders.


To read Part One of the Lightning Rod series, click here.

What Lightning Rods Teach Us About Leadership (Part Two)