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Leadership in Context Episode 178 Show Notes


Criticism in Leadership, pt1

Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci

Episode 178

How you handle criticism and judgment in a leadership situation will largely determine your outcome.

There are many people out there who have a desire to do something for God, but they don’t want to put themselves in the line of fire for the criticism and the judgment they have seen other people suffer. I think there are some things we can do about that.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised [judged]. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

This is not saying that if you are a good person and you are spiritual no one will misjudge you. Nor is it saying that if you fancy yourself as being spiritual, no one has the right to judge you. The key to understanding this is found in the next verse.

1 Corinthians 3:1

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.

I believe this is what he is saying: When you receive a criticism, you receive it spiritually; or if it is inaccurate or unfair, you don’t allow it to move you. I’ve seen many good people moved and discouraged by unfair criticisms and unfair judgements.

One time on a flight I started talking to the man next to me. After talking to him about the gospel, he made this statement, “You seem like a reasonable person. Why would you want to be a pastor for a living?” He confessed that his wife was a believer and went to church, and he could see from a distance how badly the church criticized the pastor. What a sad commentary that is.

How we handle judgment or criticism will be part of the culture we create–not just for ourselves, but for the corporate entity (business, family, team, etc.).

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

We need to be people who are correctable and teachable. That needs to be part of the culture that is in our hearts.

Quarterbacks get too much of the credit when their team wins and too much of the credit when they lose. The same is true in spiritual leadership.

Building an environment of evaluation helps fill the void. If there is a spirit of criticism and judgment, there has to be a metric of evaluation. If people feel that the leaders have an evaluation metric, then they won’t inappropriately share their criticisms. Just by communicating that there is an evaluation process, you will be able to cut off a lot of the negative stuff at the root.

How do you create an atmosphere where there can be truth and honesty without a judgmental and critical spirit? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do people know who I am accountable to?

  • Do I act with joy about being accountable to them?

  • Do I communicate that accountability? (e.g., “Hey, I was in a meeting last week with the elders, and they told me we have gotten into the habit of not starting our meetings on time. I just want to say to you that I really received their counsel, and that is something we are going to change.”)

  • What is my evaluation system, and have I communicated that?

Next week I’m going to talk about handling personal criticism and personal judgment.

Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!

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