How to Deal with Critics

k7662085Phil Cooke is a friend of mine.  He wrote a book called, “One Big Thing”.  In it, he gives three suggestions for dealing with critics that you WILL run into when you lead.  I practice these and they do work:

#1)  TAKE IT

Don’t be defensive and fire back.  Listen and learn.  It may be completely ridiculous, but even the worst critics sometimes stumble onto a grain of truth.  My opinion is that we can always learn and grow, so never shut the door on a critic too quickly.  Even though you may think it’s unfair (and it may well be), take it.  Listen to the critic and see if there’s anything there worth changing.


Nothing so surprises and disarms a critic like someone who agrees with him.  If it’s good criticism, your admission is appropriate and welcomed.  Even if it’s not good criticism, then you’ve taken away his ammunition. Don’t argue.  Just say thank you and move on.  In most situations, graciously accepting criticism usually catches the critic off-guard and in many cases, silences him.


I have a quote from Plato on my computer desktop:  “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Sometimes we mess up, don’t know what the other person is going through and simply make mistakes in judgement.  On the flip side, the critics don’t know everything behind your actions either.  So, without being defensive, explain yourself.  It’s not about rationalizing or explaining away the criticism, but informing the critic of what you were thinking.  In many cases, once he or she realizes your motivation, the comment will be dropped.

It’s actually not the criticism, but how you handle it that matters. The experience can make you better or can destroy you. The decision is yours.

How will you respond?


Dr. Ron Cline helps build the body of Christ around the world. His background as a pastor, educator, counselor, missionary and author gives him credibility and rapport with the many groups and individuals he and his wife, Barbara, minister to in various countries each year. After 7 years of pastoral ministry in Southern California, and ten years as the Dean at Azusa Pacific University, the Clines’ international service began in 1976 as a short-term opportunity when he agreed to pastor the English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador for two years. Those two years stretched into six years. Following that he served as the president of HCJB World Radio, also in Ecuador, for 20 years. HCJB Global, now Reach Beyond, has media, health care, community and/or leadership development ministries in Latin America, Europe, Russia, North Africa/Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia Pacific. Ron and Barb currently serve as Global Ambassadors with Reach Beyond and live in Southern California after living 30 years abroad. They travel from Southern California throughout the world. For the last ten years they have been encouraging, coaching and working with leaders in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, America Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Central Asia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Russia, Malawi, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

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