Tips for coping with critical people – Part 1

Learning to cope with criticism

Learning to cope with criticism

One of the most difficult challenges facing leaders is learning to cope with criticism.  The greater your influence grows the greater the criticism grows.  If you’re going to be a mover and a shaker, if you’re going to attempt great things, if you’re going to deal with people at any level you will, without a doubt, face criticism.

With the reality of the inevitable critic it would be to every leader’s advantage to discover ways to cope with criticism.  If you do not discover a method for handling criticism then you are destined to continually struggle as people serve you their hard hits of judgment.  No matter how much we would like to believe in our personal confidence we are all vulnerable to criticism and we allow it to become a stronghold in our life.

Here are some ways to help you in coping with critical people:

1)  Face the critic within
A team of sociologists studied a small community and discovered that each of them admit to criticizing those around them.  The same group of people interviewed, were appalled to discover that they themselves were often criticized by those closest to them.  The result of the study was that each person must realize they are being criticized but more importantly they themselves are critical about others.  This is a hard reality!  Each one of us, criticize to some degree.  The first step in overcoming the critics around you is to face the critic with in you.  Admit your problem and then begin correcting it and you will be on a road to coping with the hardest of critics.

2)  Don’t tune them out
Your critics may have something valuable to say, they may have some truth behind their complaint.  E. Stanley Jones was quoted as saying “Critics are the unpaid watchmen of my soul.”    Criticism can help you, if you will take less time being offended and more time being creative and discover the hidden gems behind the hurtful comment.  However, you must be smart enough to know when someone’s criticism is meant to hurt you and has no truth in it.  These are the ones that you must tune out!  Remember their criticisms say more about them than about you.

3)  Filter the amount you let in
It is easy to focus ourselves on the one negative comment and ignore the ninety nine positive comments.  I am guilty of this myself!  I will step off a stage, after making a presentation, have a hundred people tell me how wonderful it was, but when one person makes a negative comment I begin to focus all my energies on figuring out why this person doesn’t like me.  It is a horrible trap to fall into.  Be careful not to allow one person to dominate your time and energy because of their critical spirit.  Know what you need to listen to and know what you need to tune out.
4)  Host a complaint session
If you have someone who is continually criticizing you, set up an appointment with the person.  Go into the meeting with humility and simply say “I know you have some concerns about me and I wanted to give you an opportunity to share them one on one.”  Make sure in the meeting to limit their time to complain.  Don’t let it turn into a bashing session on you.  After they have shared their concerns, address them confidently and humbly.  Ask the person at the end of the meeting to work with you, by not sharing these complaints to others, but by partnering with you to overcome the possible problem.

Next time, I will continue giving you practical ideas for coping with critical people.  Work on the four ideas I gave you with those critics that surround you.  If you’re a leader then you have no choice but to discover ways to cope with the inevitable criticism.  Learn how to deal with it now and it will save you a lot of personal heartache.

Until next time,



“In the end, criticism discredits the critic.”
Denny Duron


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on July 15, 2009, in Communication, criticism, Leadership, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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