Sideline Criticism

I subscribe to a leadership blog by Leadstar. Recently they shared an article about Criticizing from the Sidelines. The synopsis is that a parent was frustrated at how a sporting event was run. The parent jumped on the criticism bandwagon with many other parents. It was the words of a loving spouse that kindly said that volunteers were doing their best, and if you didn’t like it, then next time you volunteer.

We all need to remember that people are doing their best. It is easy to criticize from the sidelines. Too often, people criticize from the sidelines, judging others because they are not doing the job as you would. The truth is that no one performs the same task or problem the same way. It does not mean that it is wrong. They might be new and inexperienced and know things you need to learn. It is easy for us to sit back and criticize others. We see this all the time on social media. People are swift to jump on the criticism bandwagon.

Leadership is tough. There are many opposing voices, always pointing fingers and casting blame. Let me say that, again, leadership is tough. You cannot inspire and lead from the sidelines, and please refrain from criticizing those trying.

Leaders are human; they make mistakes. It is the risk-takers that effect change. Ultimately our negativity will affect those around us: our coworkers, families, and friends.

Leadership skills are taught, and it takes time to develop good skills. Good leaders are intentional and seek learning opportunities to improve their leadership skills. Instead of trying to condemn people, let us try to understand them.

Leaders are:

  • Accountable
    • As a leader, you cannot “pass the buck, “deflect blame or invalidate criticism. Face it head-on and use it constructively to move yourself, your team, and your organization forward.
  • Humility and Transparency
    • When you find yourself under fire of criticism, humility and transparency are your friends. React with fact, not emotion. Demonstrate empathy for everyone.
  • Seek growth opportunities
    • Find ways to grow from the situation, then take action.

Leaders develop over time through self-awareness. Leaders seek opportunities to further their development. The Chamber has a Leadership Symposium on September 2, 2023 – seize the opportunity to promote your development.

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director & CEO, MBA