On Tuesday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump. After months of pursuing investigations, speculation and questioning, this will only put President Trump under a more intense scope of criticism.
The president responded with a tweet offering a transcript release of his phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has since been released. While this did not dissuade Pelosi or the Democratic Party from moving forward on the investigation, the president has offered several means of cooperating with the House. This inquiry will be the Democratic Party’s first step in what may be a lengthy process of critique and scrutiny of the president.
Most leaders face seasons of criticism. It often comes with the role. Within leadership, we must realize that we will be held at a higher moral standard for our current, past, and future actions. We will often be scrutinized and criticized for every decision we make.
When we make mistakes, the real question is how we choose to respond. Whether the criticism we receive is accurate, fair or completely off base, how we choose to react will speak volumes to those we are leading. As leaders, how we respond to critique is critical in how it will further shape and reflect upon our leadership.
Here are a few ways that you can handle criticism of your leadership when you are under a spotlight of scrutiny:
- Don’t just simply ignore it. Address the critique head-on. Don’t fight it, but don’t ignore it either. Any aggressive response will be naturally critiqued as well. As a leader, by not avoiding the issue, it will show that you are above the critique you currently face.
- Own up to your mistakes. We are all human, and no doubt, there is grace for every leader. At times, we may not make the best move and can be faced with past mistakes. Don’t minimize your mistakes. Learn to own them.
- Allow past criticism to shape and strengthen your leadership. Regardless of whether or not these critiques are true, simply learning to respond to them will strengthen your credibility as a leader. Rather than trying to quickly move beyond them, see how they can develop your skills, awareness and influence.
- Don’t be too easily distracted by it. At the end of the day, critique is unavoidable. People are always watching you and often will have an opinion. Learn when it is necessary to address a critique. If a critique isn’t detrimental to your leadership or reputation, don’t let it take you away from the vision of your business at hand.
We can’t always pick and choose when we will deal with criticism. It may often surprise us. Critiques can be distracting and not always constructive. When our leadership becomes consumed with dealing with criticism, it can distract us from leading well. By handling critiques, rather than avoiding them, we can learn to lead through criticism.
Some choices from our past will impact our leadership. In seasons of scrutiny, it is in our best interest to humbly admit where we have been mistaken and strive to be better. Almost all of us will face criticism at various points in our lives. Our leadership is defined by how we face it when it arrives.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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