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Things To Give Up To Be A Successful Leader: Give Up Criticism

If by now you haven’t noticed my once a week video series THE LEADERSHIP MINUTE has taken a sudden turn. I found myself slowly turning the Leadership Minute from a minute long video to a seven – eight minutes mini-movie. I was too wrapped up on giving more and more I slipped away from giving what I was promising. After speaking to my operations consultant, she advised me to get back to my roots. To go back to a one minute (approximately) long LEADERSHIP MINUTE.


Things To Give Up To Be A Successful Leader

Give Up Criticism

Criticism is defined as the “expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.” As a leader, you have no excuse to criticize others. Especially, those you lead, that follow you and especially never criticize others in public or out loud.

Now of course, if someone asks you to criticize their work, performance, or activity. Then by all means go ahead and criticize away. Criticize it up!

However, never voluntarily criticize. There will be times and places where, as a leader, you have to say something. Say it away from the public in a nice one-to-ones session. One the next episode of the Leadership Minute I will explain a bit more about why it is important to keep criticism at bay and when it must be done done in a professional manner full of tact and honesty.

Criticism is a luxury that as leader you can no longer afford to participate in. Criticism is not what your followers expect from you. What they expect is a leader that is going to take them places, make them feel comfortable, make them a success. In essence people, your followers, want you to make them a leader. Yes, they want to be a leader, they follow you because they see something in you they like. They want to emulate that.

Criticism among many other negative things is not what they want to see in you. They want to see someone who is not only not talking negatively in front of them because they know you, their leader, are not talking negatively or criticizing them in front of others. By curtailing your public criticism, you lead by example. Those that you are responsible for will see that you can lead, manage, and get the job done with as little negativity as possible.

While giving up criticism is going to be difficult there is no need to worry. If you are conscientiously working at it, the process will be somewhat smooth. This is not to say that this will be a bump free journey. It might actually be downright difficult at times.

The difficulty, I talk about, comes in escaping from or letting go those individuals that enable you or
bait you into that negative criticism. I know what you are thinking, “why do I have to let go of some people from my life?”

You have to if you want to succeed. Like alcoholics, heroin addicts, smokers or any one that has a difficult habit that they must break, distancing yourself from those individuals that somehow manage to pull you back into that negativity, is the first step to breaking that habit.

Unfortunately, some of those individuals might be family. While you love family members you are not bound by that love to like them and their behavior. Just know that because they are related to you that does not give them the right to bring you down or shove you back into bad habits.

Cutting back on Criticism is one thing but when others are doing it around you what do you do? Well, the first thing you do is to NOT start criticizing those that are criticizing. As I previously said start distancing yourself from other critics. What if the other people are those that follow you? Those that you are responsible for, Those you mentor, those that you lead?

First of all, when you are in the position of authority you can set the standard for the group, department, the entire organization. The criticism, the unwanted criticism stops now.

Of course, some of the people that this will apply to will think the change in employee policy is just a passing fad or temporary or does not apply to them. Reassure then it is not a passing fad, it does apply to everyone and most of all, this expectation is here to stay.

There has been one form of criticism that I have failed to mention, up to this point. Constructive Criticism.

There are two forms of constructive criticism; the kind that works and that kind that does not work but does cause damage. There is a fine line that divides both of them.

First time leaders and managers have the hardest time dealing with both. The thing is as a follower and subordinate it was easy. Life was easier back then. We could criticize all we wanted with little to no repercussions. Now we are the grownups. We are now the people that others look up to.

Thus, no more nonsense, no more speaking out loud before we have had a chance to process and carefully select our words. So be careful when it comes to criticism, give it when asked for, otherwise keep it to yourself. When you have to give it, please us tact, consideration, and honesty.

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Give Up on your Self-Defeating Self-Talk

So you want to be a successful leader. You want to be the one that people follow no questions asked. Hey, who doesn’t want to be that leader? To be that kind of leader there are a few things you have to give up to be a successful leader.

Give Up On Your Self-Defeating Self-Talk.

What is Self-Defeating Self-Talk?

Self-Defeating Self-Talk is that talk we have with ourselves when things are not going the way we want them to go or when others are not doing or behaving the way we want them do or behave. It is that conversation we have with ourselves either with our inside our head voice or that voice that we say at a volume that is just below what the human ear can comprehend. Self-Defeating Self-Talk that is full of words we would hardly dare say to others but have absolutely no problem saying to ourselves. Usually, the self-talk is laden with words like “dummy”, “idiot”, “nitwit”, “dumb donkey”, “poopyhead”, and words like “can’t”, “cannot” “never”, “why bother” and “who do you think you are” will find their way into that conversation.

It is time to stop talking about yourself in the negative.

While you might be doing all the right things, going through the positive motions, and leading people down the path of righteousness. All of that is for naught if you have no problem talking about yourself and to yourself in the negative. However, just like any bad habit you try to keep under cover, eventually you will be caught. Your negative self-talk will be discovered.

People are always listening

No matter what you say, do, or want to believe people are always listening to you. That is one fact you cannot hide from nor avoid. They are listening when you think they are not. They are listening to not just your words but to your action as well. So be very careful with what you say and what you do. When those that follow you see you and hear you being negative. I do not know if it is human nature or not but people cling to negativity harder and longer than they do to positivity. It is as if positivity is garbage that has been in the kitchen waste bin a day or two longer than it should have been. Sure, we have to touch it but just long enough to get rid of it.

On the other hand, negative talk is contagious

Whether we say it aloud or just under our breath, negative talk is still negative talk and it does not take a Rocket Scientist to tell you negative talk is contagious. Once someone else hears that negative talk it is out there. There is no taking it back. Seriously, there is nothing you can do to get it back. Once that Pandora’s Box it is open it is can never be closed with all the negativity that escaped back in the back. However, the work begins to undo the damage done. The same applies to you. You must work at reeling that negativity back in and get it under control. As a leader, you have no choice, you must!

They will believe your negativity but they will start to believe it about themselves

When you fail to reel it back in then others will start to believe the negativity that you have been spewing. Your followers will begin to believe that you might not be the real deal. You might just be someone who lacks the confidence and the ability to lead. Because they follow you, they will also start to doubt their confidence and ability to become the kind of leader they thought you were. That, my friends is NOT a good thing. Your job as a leader is set in stone. You are to help make more leaders! Your jobs is NOT to make others doubt themselves.

Cease the negative talk and thoughts

You have your marching orders. Stop with the negativity, the self-defeating self-talk, NOW! It serves you no purpose to continue and it certain serves those that follow you no purpose. When you stop with the negativity, it gives others the opportunity to begin to believe in you, again. It gives those naysayers and other nothing they can use against you. So many might try but when there is nothing for them to swing at, what then? Exactly!

In the end, those that follow will start to feel good about you and being with you and following you.