HOW EFFECTIVE LEADERS HANDLE CRITICISM

CRAIG GROESCHEL LEADERSHIP PODCAST EPISODE 32:

HOW EFFECTIVE LEADERS HANDLE CRITICISM, PART 1

EPISODE NOTES

Thank you for joining the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast!

If you’re a leader in just about any field, you’re going to have people second-guessing you, tearing you down, and picking you apart. The more you succeed, the more critics you’ll have. Dealing with criticism is a part of leadership. It’s that simple. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to avoid all criticism—and you shouldn’t! But learning to handle that criticism is incredibly crucial to your success as a leader.

While you cannot avoid all criticism, you can minimize some of it by leading thoughtfully. That’s what we’ll talk about in this episode. Let’s begin by looking at four practical ways to minimize criticism.

1. Build a positive culture, starting with yourself. As the leader, you set the tone. Lead from a posture of positivity. When people catch you speaking about others, err on the side of positivity. Believe the best about people.

2. Create an avenue for helpful feedback. Build a culture that demands helpful feedback and discourages unhelpful criticism. Create an environment where people don’t just point out problems, they find solutions.

3. Lead with the “why” before the “what.” People are more likely to resist change when they don’t like it or don’t understand it. When you lead something new, you’re going to have three groups of people who react to it: critics, bystanders, and advocates. The critics will be the loudest, but they won’t always represent the largest group.

4. Be wise in how you live. Leaders are held to a higher standard. Avoid shortcuts and live above reproach. Be hyper-selective about what you say, when you say it, and how you say it.

In our next episode, we’ll talk about understanding your critics and how you respond to what they have to say.

Remember, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Here’s an exercise you can do to grow as a leader—ask your team these questions:

1. Where do you see unnecessary negativity in your culture? What can you do to fix it?

2. What tools can you implement to get feedback early to help you eliminate critical errors in the future?

3. Is there anything you are doing in your personal or professional life that, if it were discovered, would compromise your reputation and ability to lead? If so, what are you going to do about it?

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES

Catch up with some of the best Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast episodes. Craig chose his five favorite episodes—head to http://www.life.church/favoritefive listen to them and get the show notes.

EPISODE RESOURCES

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Envy

From liking Jesus Devotional by Craig Groeschel

As long as you keep searching, comparing, and envying what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough. Only when you rely on God and practice gratitude for all he provides will you be able to overcome the dissatisfaction that comes from envy. Envy causes you to resent God’s goodness in other people’s lives and to ignore God’s goodness in your own.

For people always comparing themselves to others—you know, checking their status and updating their profile—every single day brings more trouble. There’s no way for them to see their blessings because the glass is always half-empty. But people who trust God as the source of their happiness have no desire to compare themselves to anyone else. They know that he loves them and remains in charge of their lives, through pleasant circumstances as well as painful ones.

So enjoy what God has given you, instead of longing for what you don’t have. Be thankful for what God has given you, instead of creeping on someone else’s Instagram: “Oh, I wish I had their life!” Guess what? They’re longing for your life in ways you don’t even know about!

Enjoy what you do have rather than desiring what you don’t have.

With Christ’s help, you can win the battle of constantly comparing yourself and envying others. Social media should be a place to see what’s happening in the lives of those you love—not the place to make you envy. Let’s rejoice with those who rejoice. Let’s cultivate gratitude.

Let’s worship our God, not because he gives us everything we want, but because he is worthy of our praise. Let’s worship him because we’ve learned the secret of being content, whether we’re living in plenty or living in want. That secret is that we can do all things through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who gives us strength.

Because he is all we need, let’s pursue him with our whole hearts.

Only in him will we find true joy and true contentment.

Because only he is life, and only he truly satisfies.

““So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:31-33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

THE EXPECTATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS

“So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.”

Acts of the Apostles 10:23-24 NLT

When Cornelius sent his messengers to Peter, it took between four and five days for the journey. Remember there was no mobile phones, no internet, no GPS, nothing that would tell him how far they had gone, if they had arrived at Joppa, nothing. Yet the Bible records that when PETER and the messengers arrived, Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. He was believed what the angel spoke to him in the dream and was fully persuaded and expectant that the servants would return with PETER. Imagine how he was able to keep all his relatives and friends together and waiting for the arrival of PETER and his servants. What did he say to them to convince them to stay, what was going on in his own heart? But in all these things, he was assured that his expectation would not be cut off.

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality–faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”

‭‭HEBREWS‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“Surely there is a future [and a reward], And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.”

‭‭PROVERBS‬ ‭23:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬

PUT IT IN RE-VERSE

I read this message this morning from Girlfriends in God and it spoke to my heart. I believe it will speak to you also

Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:5)

Friend to Friend

If you’ve been around Christian believers for any length of time then you have probably heard people talking about their “life verse.” Having a life verse isn’t a Biblical mandate and it doesn’t make anyone sprout wings of holiness, but it’s a thing. A thing that often redirects us to God’s Word. Which is always good.

Back in the day of Joshua, the people of Israel were led through the Jordan River when the Lord made a miraculous way. After they reached the other side safely, God told the leaders to go back into the water and gather 12 large stones, one to represent each tribe, and to place them by the water’s edge. The stones became a visual reminder of the deliverance that they’d experienced at the hands of God.

Life verses are a remembrance stone of sorts. They are usually a verse that reminds people of Biblical promises or of a special time in their lives when they experienced the powerful presence of God. Sometimes a life verse is a scripture that reminds us not to worry, like Philippians 4:6 – or verses that reminds us of God’s inseparable love, like Romans 8:37-39.

I have more than one life verse {overachiever alert.} One is Psalm 105:4, because it instructs my heart of what is most important. “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” Love it. I need to remind my heart of which direction it should face.

Another one of my life verses is more of a remembrance stone. Psalm 34:5 reminds me that I am not the sum of what I do or what I’ve done, but that I am defined and refined by the One to whom I look. “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.”

I know what it is to look to people other than God to define my beauty. I know what it’s like to look to my accomplishments, my failures, my bank account, or my social media page to inform my heart of my value and virtue. But God doesn’t care about those things. He cares about where I look: to Him, to myself, or to others.

I am defined by the restoring, forgiving grace of God, not by my past choices, others’ voices, or my present struggles. So Psalm 34:5 is a perfect life verse for me. It reminds me of the value God sees in me and it reminds me to look His way.

When I sign copies of my book Broken into Beautiful I usually add the Psalm 34:5 verse reference below my signature. It fits the message of the book, that God is all about healing wounded hearts and redefining our lives according to His beauty, not our brokenness.

Imagine my dismay when one day I realized that I had just signed someone’s book with the verse numbers inverted. I signed psalm 35:4 and had NO IDEA what the message of that verse was.

So I looked it up.

And quickly realized it was a verse written by David asking God to ruin his enemies! Good glory! I laughed and re-versed the book, changing the reference back to Psalm 34:5. This simple mistake got my heart to thinking. Sometimes I need to re-verse the things I say and do.

When I get distracted and leave God out of my day, it’s time to re-verse and remember what’s most important. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

When I get grumbly or gossipy, it’s time to re-verse. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure.” (Philippians 2:14-15) “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

When I feel insecure or unloved, it’s time to re-verse. “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

All day long I need to reroute my thoughts and actions toward the truth, wisdom and guidance of the Bible. I need to go back into the river of life, to the Word, to look up and memorize references that will set my heart and mind on the path of God’s will. Re-verse with me today?

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I’m so grateful that You are loving, kind, and patient. Please help me to live according to Your truth. Convict my heart when it needs correction. Help me to know when I need to re-verse, and move me to the path of Your holiness through Your Word.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 119:9-11. “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

What three directives are we given? What are the rewards of these directives? How might these be applied in your life today?

WHEN THE SPIRIT SPEAKS

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:26-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Several things come to mind as I read this passage of the bible

1. Philip’s sensitivity and obedience to the Spirit – He heard the Spirit speak and He moved, no question! He wasn’t so bothered about where or if he ever got there, he was just ready to go as the Spirit led him. Philip was available, he was present to be used. Sometimes being produces more than doing. Philip obeys the command to go and be near the chariot. He was there, he was present, he was available.

2. The eunuch is returning from a pilgrimage to the Temple, a place laden with Spirit-filled 1st century Christians, and he leaves still not knowing Christ. Was he overlooked or ignored? Was there no one there that could see his need and help him? Was he not connected? Did he not see or feel God in that gathering? What went wrong? Was it not his time? Or was God just preparing him for a closer encounter? We may never know exactly the reason but we can be assured of one thing, God saw his heart, that he was seeking for a personal knowledge of Him and He made it possible through a Faithful, Available and Teachable (FAT) vessel.

As we go through today can we ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to opportunities to meet the needs of others and may we be sensitive enough to see when He is prompting us. May we take our eyes off the ‘destination’ and enjoy the journey and go as He leads.

SPEAK LORD, YOUR SERVANT HEARETH

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:15-16‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Why did Mary not recognize Jesus voice until He called her name
All the while Jesus was talking to Mary, He called her “woman” there was no sign of relationship, but immediately He said Mary, He spoke to her, to her inner needs, her inner desires, to her brokenness, her lack, He ministered to her, He spoke with intimacy, he spoke with endearment, He spoke with Love. And she heard Him and recognized Him. Speak Lord, your Servant heareth!
How many times do we just hear the Lord talking to us, no relationship, no intimacy, the words seem not to make any impact, it is because we have not developed a true relationship, we have not inclined our ears, we have not laid our heads on His lap and listened. When we do so as Mary had done in Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Luke‬ ‭10:38-42‬ ‭NLT‬‬, when He then speaks to us, we will recognize His voice and listen to Him.
SOEAK LORD YOUR SEVANT HEARETH!