Criticism Hurts!

I was visiting with some wonderful people the other day and the subject of leadership and how to demonstrate it…came up.  It has been my humble honor to have known many leaders in my nearly 62 years.  I have witnessed the poorest of leadership patterns…as well as those that were inspirational!


Leadership has always fascinated me!  Having been a christian for 50 years and working alongside pastors and religious leaders for the majority of that time…I have witnessed the corrosive effect that a poor leader can have on the lives of the people that they are attempting to lead.


On the contrary I have also seen, first hand, the deleterious effect that pithy criticisms that are aimed at a leader can have on that leaders morale and effectiveness in their ministry.

From the time that I became a crew leader in my position at Building Services at Southern Illinois University@ Carbondale…I was the recipient of, some, unfounded criticism of my efforts or my job performance…or whether or not I seemed friendly enough on a given day.  In fact…if we are honest…none of us enjoy criticism…even when it is constructive and necessary!


Certainly management is not church and church is not secular management…but there are simalarities that apply.

Leaders both in the work-place and in the house of worship need counselors that will work with them and help them to understand when they are on the right path…and when they have strayed into the weeds…or the ditch!


Now, a leader is neither a robot or a cyborg or in possession of a button to shut off their human emotions.  We still are all carbon based and have yet to achieve artificial intelligence.  I have been present when university chancellors were consumed by gratuitous political infighting and if you will check the calendar you will count 11 of them since 1996.

During the years that I was a manager/administrator of the housekeeping department at the university…I felt personal responsibility for the failure or termination of anyone in my organization!  Upon investigation I would order a terminated student to be put back to work if  I discovered that they had not been properly trained.  I personally trained countless full time staff and students when I had doubts regarding their training or proper motivation.


Having upwards of 350 – 400 members of our group and reviewing each of their evaluations…and touring all of their work areas and visiting with them…I considered them all members of my family and I felt a personal failure when any of them did not succeed…until I was certain that I had done all that I humanly could do to facilitate their success!


Please do not misunderstand me…I have terminated many people over a period of 30 years.  Always the well-being of the group is of paramount importance over the security of an individual.  It is the most difficult task that a leader has to do!

Having been a follower for the majority of my life and on more occasions than I wanted to…been asked to lead…I can assure you that I prefer following…it is much easier!



Note: Photos of leaders are courtesy of Google.

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