Constructive Criticism: Take it personal, but don’t take it personal

March 22, 2012

Constructive criticism is risky.

In one sense it is needful for the growth of any leader.

It also can hurt feelings.

It’s constructive

The leadership culture in any church needs to be open to such criticism.

It’s not being critical for the sake of being critical. Rather, you are speaking truths to another person for the sake of their betterment.

I can point to certain people offering their constructive observations as being pivotal moments in my pulpit ministry (like the time a pastor told me to quit trying to preach like somebody else and find my own voice).

I won’t lie and say that it feels good to hear that improvements are needed. But ultimately, these criticisms have led to good growth as a speaker.

Don’t be cruel

Those offering criticisms must do so out of love. Criticism that isn’t constructive just cuts, leaving a bleeding gash that wasn’t for the purpose of growth (like the time a lady told me I sweat too much).

  • Are you offering a better way?
  • After pointing out what could change, do you offer a few ideas that could benefit the leader?
  • Do you offer validation to the leader?

That’s what constructive criticism is all about.

Don’t take it personal

If you are receiving such criticism, the key is learning to take it personal, but not take it personal.

Meaning, think about the validity of the comments. Is this an area you could improve? What could be adjusted in order to make you that much better at what you do?

But don’t take it personal. Don’t let offense come. Don’t let your feelings get hurt.

Remember that none of us are perfect at what we do.

Every one of us can improve.

Be thankful that somebody cares enough about your growth to risk a tough conversation with you in order to see you excel.

Take it personal.

Don’t take it personal.