The Spirit of a nation, a family or an organisation is created from the top. The Facile Princeps of leadership is the virtue of integrity. It is through integrity; that leadership is exercised.

The integrity of character sets the example, which is emulated by like-minded.

Integrity is not something one can fool another with. It is possible to hide behind reputation, but people whom you work or relate with will eventually know whether you are or not a person of integrity.

People may forgive you for; incompetence, ignorance, insecurity or bad manners. But they will not forgive or forget a lack of integrity.

This truth which ought to be cherished by all leaders, particularly those who sit at the top of organisations. For the spirit of an organisation is created from the top. If a nation, family or organisation is great, it is so because the top is great. If it, rots, it is because the top is rotten. As the proverb has it, “Trees, die from the top.” No one should ever be appointed any leadership position, at any level of an organisation unless their character serves a model of integrity.

Daily in the headlines, we read stories that raise our eyebrows, about the lack of leadership integrity, in particular on the political scene. We’ve been overly exposed to a perception of self-serving power and influence arising from deep-rooted friendships, not integrity or competence for that matter, together with ethnic allegiance as well as back-room political manipulations, used in an attempt to discard individuals who are perceived as honourable.

However, situations involving the loss of integrity are not only found in the political arena, but they also occur in our business world,  church environment, and more frequently than we would like to admit.

Corruption, in our country, has spread from parliament, down to clerk working in a mortuary. Corruption in leadership pervades at every level. In the words of Ray Davies, “money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man…” Unfortunately, our countries leadership are uninterested in dealing with this hindrance of development. Furthermore, the citizens blame the government, the government blame apartheid. Our nation seems to be revolving around “the blame game,” while corruption keeps thriving.

Corruption is everywhere. You may recall the famous collapse of U.S.-based Enron Corp., a leader in energy, natural gas, communications and pulp and paper with more than 20,000 employees, is not far from our memories. The leadership at Enron was found to have systematically engaged in accounting fraud and corruption, which was supported by the Arthur Anderson accounting and consulting firm. Both went bankrupt while key leaders headed to prison. Hurting thousands of people.

While the lack of integrity in leadership is shaking the foundation of nations, government, organisation, families and friendship. While most leaders don’t engage in the dishonest behaviour, I’ve encountered many more individuals who live by what I call the “neutral zone.”  Leadership and neutrality are diametrical.   In other words, while a person may not engage in anything illegal, immoral, or any unethical behaviour, but tolerating those who do, in my view, can be considered unethical. And it only takes one more step to cross the line.  Permissiveness creates a perception of unethical behaviour and also creates a sense of mistrust and a loss of integrity. People simply lose respect for this type of leader! Most leaders simply fail to understand the proximity of comprise.

Most leaders simply fail to understand the close proximity of comprise. Ex-General Colin Powel stated this immortal truth  for anyone leadership;

“Loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this state, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”

If speaking against a project you’ve agreed with in the meeting, or making an agreement with one and speaking against it with another, makes you disloyal, what then is Integrity?

What Exactly is Integrity?

  • Integrity is defined as the consistency between what a leader says and what the leader does.
  • It’s an alignment between a person’s values, beliefs, words and actions, as well as the extent to which promises are kept.
  • Integrity is also perceived to be closely related to honesty, trustworthiness and fairness and is frequently thought to be a measure of good moral character.
  • Integrity is judged by how closely the leader’s behaviour and actions are consistent with the moral frameworks of a community or an organisation.
  • Integrity is doing what’s right even if it will cost you.

 

You May Wonder Why it is Important for Leader to Demonstrate Integrity?

People want a leader who ‘preaches, what he practices.’ Who can follow through on promises and who “walks the talk.” Therefore, since people judge integrity by the consistency, credibility, competency and reliability of a leader’s behaviour, how do we know it when we see it?

When integrity is destroyed, confidence goes by the wayside and may never return.

 

The Following 9 Descriptors will Assist You to Confirm Your Perceptions of Integrity.

  1. Continuous personal growth: 

  • Leaders with high levels of integrity are in constant learning mode.
  • They are ruthlessly honest with themselves, seek guidance to discover and work around their leadership blind spots and are always learning and growing as leaders.
  1. A promise is a promise: 

  • High-integrity leaders keep their promises, and if they can’t meet the agreed-upon timeline, they will stay in communication with you until the promise has been kept.
  1. Reliability:

  • Just as we purchase proven brands, leaders who are shown to be reliable and can be counted on will attract more followers.
  • Reliable leaders stick with problems and issues until they are resolved from a win/win point of view and a strong consideration for all stakeholders involved.
  • In other words they don’t quit and walk away when times are, though.
  1. Accountability:

  • High-integrity leaders don’t just blame others or take the blame themselves, they own the situation and all of its outcomes.
  • These leaders quickly intervene in an issue, evaluate unintended impact, take steps to rectify the situation and stay in close communication with stakeholders until the job is done.
  1. Responsiveness:

  • There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a leader to respond to your query.
  • High-integrity leaders are good time managers and will either respond immediately or will inform you when they can get back to your issue.
  • If the situation is a crisis, they will be there for you.
  1. Doing the right thing:

  • High-integrity leaders have strong moral principles.
  • You can count on them do the right thing, at the right time and for all the right reasons.
  • These leaders have high personal standards and hold their team members and their organisation to the same high standards.
  • They then assess each decision and action against their organisational standards.
  1. Respectfulness:

  • Respect is earned and is done so by showing respect and an acceptance toward others.
  • Respecting others means understanding different values and beliefs, recognising, accepting and developing the skills of others and including all employees as part of the team.
  • Respect also means communicating and interacting with individuals by putting them on the same playing field.
  1. Accessibility:

  • High-integrity leaders are physically present and make themselves available and accessible to their staff.
  • They interact with and invite employees to share their issues; they are always available to stop and listen.
  1. Transparency:

  • High-integrity leaders ensure their actions are “seen” as trustworthy and create a sense of certainty rather than uncertainty.
  • They exhibit openness with respect to information, finances and various operational transactions and business dealings.
  • When examined by others, their actions lead to trusting relationships.

 

Non-integrity leadership behaviour not only has the power to ruin a career, but it has the power to utterly destroy an organisation.

When integrity is destroyed, confidence goes by the wayside and believe me it may never return.

Integrity is the Bottomline!  

 


*– Source: Why does Leader Integrity Matter to Followers? An Uncertainty Management Explanation, Robert H. Moorman, Creighton University, (US) and Steven Grover, University of Otago, New Zealand, International Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 5 Issue 2, 2009.

 

All of us, even the most gifted and strong, experience discouragement from time to time.

Some days we run full throttle to face life with no reservations, but other times, we feel like throwing in the towel and feel sorry for ourselves.

You may be:

a single mum swamped with bills to pay, simultaneously trying to raise three your children,

a wife who’s husband has been unfaithful, yielding to your discouragement results in a broken marriage, suffering children and a broken heart,

a business owner struggling to yield revenue because of the socio-political climate in our country,

a student facing adversity at home, resulting in poor grade performance.

 

Whatever discouragements that you are facing today, you should firstly, not stop believing in God and secondly, in yourself. You should not let your discouragement defeat you, rather overcome your discouragement.

 

Yielding to discouragement has a high price to pay.

 

 

 Five Possible Causes of Discouragement:

 

1. Fate

We all experience tragedy in our lives that causes us to grieve, such as losing a loved one. This produces a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

When tragedy crushes our spirit, personally I believe one cannot find real healing from outside, but only from one’s faith in God.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

 

 

2. Fatigue

Fatigue is extreme exhaustion. Usually resulting from mental or physical exertion or sickness.

We all experience fatigue at times; it is a part of life. Our bodies have been created to store huge amounts of energy to keep us going for a long time. Nonetheless, we need to rest in order to recharge. Too much sleep can also result in fatigue. However, the correct balance in the cycle of work and sleep is sacred.

Rest is necessary to function at our best. When this cycle is interrupted or out of balance, fatigue results.

Some of the symptoms of fatigue are:

 

chronic tiredness or sleepiness;

headache, dizziness;

aching muscles, muscle weakness;

impaired decision-making and judgement, moodiness such as irritability;

appetite loss, reduced immune system function;

blurry vision, short-term memory problems, poor concentration, hallucinations;

reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand; and

low motivation.

 

You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be that you don’t have to change anything.

You just need a vacation!  In our busy world, rest does not always come easily. We often have to teach ourselves to rest in body, mind, and spirit.

Learning to rest our souls keeps us healthy and keeps fatigue out of our lives.

 

 

3. Frustration

When you get upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something you are frustrated.

Everyone is familiar with feelings of frustration, which stems from your efforts falling short of reaching a goal or someone else’s efforts failing to meet your needs.

The secret to overcoming frustration is all about recognising the sources that ‘triggers’ the feeling, then using the proper techniques to choose a different emotional response.

Triggers are “elements in our environments we all face daily, that causes a sudden emotional reaction in us that is disproportionate to the trigger itself.”

Two useful Self-Managment tips for overcoming triggers:

Learn to breathe deeply.

Breathing will relax you; which changes the chemistry of the brain that helps you avoid impulsive actions or rash words.

 

Another important technique to overcome frustration is to be ‘aware of yourself.’

Self-awareness places you back in the front seat of your emotional life.  Next time you are tempted to shout, make a rude gesture or insult someone – stop to examine your feelings and the environment, before you over-dominate and walk all over others yourself.

Ask yourself these questions to help you figure out how to respond to the current situation:

Do I have an accurate perspective of the situation?

Will what happened now matter in a day? A week? A year?

Can I respond without being hostile?

Am I as interested in seeing the situation clearly or in being ‘right’?

Am I interested in the other person’s needs?

 

Frustration in perspective is ‘delayed success’ not ‘failure.’

By framing your mind with this view, you will change your reaction and emotions for the better.

If you see your situation as a setback that you will get over, you are more likely to know immediately you can overcome the frustration!

 

 

4. Failure

Everybody fails. Failure is an integral part of success.

So the issue is not that you failed – it’s how you respond to your failure.

Do you give into self-pity?

Do you start blaming other people?

Do you start complaining that it’s impossible? or,

Do you refocus on your goals and start moving again?

 

5. Fear

People most effected by fear are those who hang around negative people. If you’re going to control the negative thoughts in your life, you’ve got to get as far away as possible from negative people.

Sometimes it’s the fear of past failure or the fear of criticism. Fear will destroy your life if you let it. It is the single most aggressive form of failure. In spite of, you can choose to resist this form of discouragement.

Here are some Suggestions to Combat Fear:

Adopt a correct understand of your potential.

Don’t brand yourself as a failure – failure is an event, you are who you are.

Acknowledge the mistake that may have contributed to your failure and don’t repeat it.

Separate yourself from negative people.

Resist the temptation to remain stagnant.

Getting angry might emotionally satisfy you, but IS ineffective as a means of motivating people.

Being a choleric: staying in control of situations, on the top, the best in everything, is my leadership temperament. In the past, I hated losing. Nothing frustrated me more than when things don’t get done or work out as planned.

 

An occasional outburst of anger was a natural occurrence, both in the office and at home.  Somehow, I thought this is how leaders were supposed to lead.

 

Over the years as my Leadership Lid developed, it became evident the best of leaders don’t use anger as a leadership tool to influence their followers.

 

Even though leadership came naturally to me, today I am thankful to all of my mentors; I’ve learned that “Leadership is Influence” and there are better ways to influence people who do not require a “Nazi styled approached.”

Most leaders believe that anger is a necessary means to get things done. There are countless examples of successful leaders who never get angry. In fact, anger only compromises your effectiveness and diminishes your reputation.

 

Have you ever been warned by a colleague that your new boss or team leader ‘has a temper’? Your reputation will always be judged.

 

Occasional anger is recoverable (with an apology). However, it does not take much to become branded as an angry leader. Anger is not a reputation that you want to precede you, even if you are military personnel.
The downside of leading with anger is that it does not have lasting value to usher in change. The cost to your followers or organisation far exceeds its worth. Emotional volatility is its fruit which quenches creativity, and it makes it very hard for people to ‘want’ to follow you.  Anger may make you feel better, but everyone else just feels worse. It may energise the team for a short time, but never the long haul.

 

I have noticed every time I fell victim to continual stress or fatigue; I would lose grip on my self-control. Resulting in anger outbursts, which I regretted afterwards.

 

A leader can have the finest character, but sustained stress and fatigue can bring the worst of out him.

 

For instance, you work 96 hours plus a week, so naturally, you’re irritable: you ignore a healthy diet resulting in a depleted glucose level, you lash out at your staff who make silly mistakes. You’re exhausted at home because of the demands of your high-paced work, your spouse has a ‘husband-do list’ and your kids have a ‘Dad-do list.’

Your personal energy, patience, emotional control, intellectual and physical threshold is challenged. As a CEO, business leader, entrepreneur or pastor – anger seems to be the option to release the internal tension.

However, that is not an excuse.

 

Remember, followers are reluctant to bring their problems and challenges to an angry leader; a key sign of a trusting relationship.

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

–Colin Powell

An angry leader will stifle creativity, the very element needed to solve complex organisational problems. Whether it’s a permanent personality trait or an ‘every once in a while’ outburst… anger is not worth it!

 

 

Three Principles For Avoiding Angry Leadership

So, you need to avoid leading when you’re angry. You need to find out if anger is a behaviour you display publicly; figure out how to detect it and then emplace controls to prevent or redirect your anger when it arises. Here are some ideas:

 

1. Invite Feedback From a Trusted Friend or Mentor

Honest, open communication from those you lead or those you know and trust, will shed light on your leadership blind spot.

Unless you are willing to humble yourself and commit to really listening to that feedback, don’t waste their time.

 

2. Control Your Tongue

 

The priority of a leader is not himself. There is a proverb that says,

 

“Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.”

The wise have their tongues controlled by loving emotional and sound thoughts. They speak their internalised knowledge of morality in a way to reveal it’s attractiveness.

Instead of brutalising people in the boardroom, they are kind, sensitive and gentle with an aim to save and not destroy their followers. In contrast, the mouth of a fool who heatedly gushes forth words that destroy, hurt and torment their environment.

Wise leaders understand the difference between the ‘proper and improper use of the tongue.’

 

 

3. Take a deep breath, count to 10 and release

Leaders never react, they respond. Reactive leading is “stimulus then immediate reaction.” Responsive leading is “stimulus, pause, reflect, then react.”

If you witness a mistake and become frustrated, take a deep breath, count to 10 then release.

 

The idea is to gather a consensus of the mistake before responding.

This exercise will bring the mistake into context, foster greater accountability or you can act up like a baby who just lost his favourite toy, and that changes nothing.

When a mistake has happened, observe how others respond.

Establish the complete history and context of the mistake.

Give your body a moment to translate your emotions. Place your ‘responsive-self’ in charge, instead of your ‘reactive-self.’ Reshape your emotional energy into a positive stream.

Remember just because you are upset, your followers will not feel the real impact of the situation.

Anger neglects to consider there are other forms of motivation and correction, which may even be more effective.

Don’t allow you anger to distort a moment of growth and wisdom.

If you’re struggling to deal with criticism, I’m so glad you’ve landed here.

Nobody likes being criticised. Although how you handle it, makes all the difference. If you lock up and become defensive, you’re likely to waste a lot of time, feel miserable and repeat the same behaviour that was a problem to begin with.
It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of criticism, but these thoughts can help you learn to deal with it more effectively.

 

(See related article:   CRITICISM THE CONFIRMATION OF GREAT LEADERSHIP )

 

If you can learn to take it in your stride, with some genuine reflection on how you can use it as a basis for improvement, you can come to realise that criticism can actually be a gift.

Here are some quotes, a list inspired by Lolly Daska,  to help you think about criticism: giving it, receiving it and understanding it.

 

1. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

2. “When criticized, consider the source.” –Unknown
3. “If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only by their conduct, we shall soon reach a very false conclusion.” –Calvin Coolidge

4. “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” –Elbert Hubbard

5. “We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.” –Michel de Montaigne

6. “When we speak evil of others, we generally condemn ourselves.” –Publius Syrus

7. “The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” –Oscar Wilde

8. “He who throws dirt always loses ground.” –Unknown

9. “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” –Lou Holtz

10. “The dread of criticism is the death of genius.” –William Gilmore Simms

11. “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.” –Abraham Lincoln

12. “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” –Norman Vincent Peale

13. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” –John Wooden

14. “Most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.” –Seth Godin

15. “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me, and I may be forced to love you.” –Norman Vincent Peale

16. “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” –attributed to Aristotle

17. “A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.” –Will Self

18. “It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man’s oration–nay, it is very easy; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.” –Plutarch

19. “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.” –Plato

20. “The individual must not merely wait and criticize, he must defend the cause the best he can. The fate of the world will be such as the world deserves.” –Albert Einstein

21. “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

22. “If we had no faults we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.” –François de La Rochefoucauld

23. “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” –Elvis Presley

24. “Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism.” –Wendell Phillips

25. “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” –William Lonsdale Watkinson

26. “Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.” –Margaret Chase Smith

27. “If we are bold enough to point out problems, we must be brave enough to try to solve them.” –Robert Alan Silverstein

28. “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” –Mark Twain

29. “One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism.” –Carl Sagan

30. “Blame is safer than praise.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

31. “Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let criticism get to your heart.” — Lysa TerKeurst

32. “Criticism is a privilege that you earn–it shouldn’t be your opening move in an interaction.” –Malcolm Gladwell

33. “Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism are all too frequently those who…ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism–the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.” –Margaret Chase Smith

34. “Think before you speak is criticism’s motto; speak before you think, creation’s.” –E. M. Forster

35. “Analyses of others are actually expressions of our own needs and values.”
–Marshall Rosenberg

36. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

37. “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” –Frank A. Clark

38. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” –Napoleon Hill

39. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” –Winston Churchill

40. “If your heart acquires strength, you will be able to remove blemishes from others without thinking evil of them.” –Mohandas K. Gandhi

41. “Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” –Socrates

42. “One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.” –Mark Twain

43. “My opinions and principles are subjects of just criticism.” –Victoria Woodhull

44. “What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.” –Octavio Paz

45. “Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing.” –Joyce Carol Oates

46. “If someone criticizes you, give them a compliment.” –Debasish Mridha

47. “Learn to see the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.” –Anonymous

48. “Appreciate the constructive; ignore the destructive.” –John Douglas

49. “I have already settled it for myself, so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” –Georgia O’Keeffe

50. “How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” –Benjamin Disraeli

51. “It is usually best to be generous with praise and cautious with criticism.” –Anonymous

52. “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.” –Bob Dylan

53. “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn–and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” –Dale Carnegie

54. “But instead of spending our lives running towards our dreams, we are often running away from a fear of failure or a fear of criticism.” –Eric Wright

55. “Criticism is information that will help you grow.” –Hendrie Weisinger

56. “Concern over criticism clogs creativity.” –Duane Alan Hahn

57. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

58. “Before you go and criticize the younger generation, just remember who raised them.” –Anonymous

59. “Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.” –Emmit Fox

60. “A critic is a legless man who teaches running.” –Channing Pollock

61. “The pleasure we feel in criticizing robs us from being moved by very beautiful things.” –Jean De La Bruyere

62. “A cynic is prematurely disappointed with the future.” –Anonymous

63. “Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.” –Anonymous

64. “Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.” –Sam Rayburn

65. “There is no defense against criticism except obscurity.” –Joseph Addison

66. “All my life, people have said that I wasn’t going to make it.” –Ted Turner

67. “You are a glorious, shining sword and criticism is the whetstone. Do not run from the whetstone or you will become dull and useless. Stay sharp.” –Duane Alan Hahn

68. “The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews. The ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.” –William Faulkner

69. “When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.” –Anonymous

70. “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” –Charles Schwab

71. “The most noble criticism is that in which the critic is not the antagonist so much as the rival of the author.” –Isaac Disraeli

72. “Pretty words are not always true, and true words are not always pretty.” –Aiki Flinthart

73. “Sandwich criticism between two layers of praise.” –Mary Kay Ash

74. “Remember: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” –Neil Gaiman

75. “It’s simpler and easier to flatter people than to praise them.” –Jean Paul Richter

76. “It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.” –Daisaku Ikeda

77. “Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified, it is not criticism, learn from it.” –Anonymous

78. “The person who offends writes as if it was written on sand, and the person who is offended reads it as if it were written on marble.” –Italian proverb

79. “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.” –Anonymous

80. “Having a sharp tongue will cut your throat.” –Anonymous

81. “As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.” –Hans Selye

82. “Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl.” –Nellie McClung

83. “In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Without 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.” –Willie Mays

84. “When virtues are pointed out first, flaws seem less insurmountable.” –Judith Martin

85. “I like criticism. It makes you strong.” –LeBron James

86. “If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he’s no good.” –Ezra Pound

87. “It’s too easy to criticize a man when he’s out of favor, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.” –Leo Tolstoy

88. “He only profits from praise who values criticism.” –Heinrich Heine

89. “The price of success is to bear the criticism of envy.” –Denis Waitley

90. “The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.” –Robert E. Lee

91. “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” –Winston Churchill

92. “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.” –Wole Soyinka

93. “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.” –Franklin P. Jones

94. “Constructive criticism is about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the real critique of what really went on.” –Paula Abdul

95. “Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love.” –Robert Frank

96. “Self-criticism must be my guide to action, and the first rule for its employment is that in itself it is not a virtue, only a procedure.” –Kingsley Amis

97. “While we would love to have no criticism, probably if we had no critique, we wouldn’t be doing anything meaningful.” –Erwin McManus

98. “Most of the criticism I have received over the years has been very good.” –Van Morrison

99. “People ask for criticism, but they only want praise.” –W. Somerset Maugham

100. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?…” –Jesus of Nazareth

(See related article:   CRITICISM THE CONFIRMATION OF GREAT LEADERSHIP )

 

Receiving criticism is unpleasant, but a leadership inevitability. Criticism is the confirmation of great leadership, which often lives long after a leaders death.

It’s hard for most people to recognise when you shine because they think they will be left in the dark.

As a CEO, business owner or a public figure, when you put yourself out far enough ahead of the crowd or the shadow of your comfort-zone, you become a target for the negative, mean, merciless, unloveable, unreasonable, jealous, hateful, and afraid -critics.

Some people cannot stomach your success. Jealous people, for instance, want you to stay on the same plane with them or lower. It is hard for some people to see you rise above them, and their criticism of you is a confirmation of this fact.

This sentiment is wittily worded in the following pointed remark:

 

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

A blatant impossibility particularly when selfless, patriotic conviction drives your heart. “The dread of criticism is the death of genius.” —William Gilmore Simms

Leaders who choose to stand tall also choose to be under the microscope of the critic, the uncomfortable place where you stand translucent, for all to see and recklessly judge you.
If you are anything like me, you have put your everything into a “your dream,” just to face Setbacks? Criticism?  You will understand that criticism in leadership go hand in hand.

 

So it is important to learn to handle criticism constructively.

 

(See related article: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE)

 

The question, however, remains, “How does one deal with it?” The unforgettable Abraham Lincoln said,

 

“He has a right to criticise, who has the heart to help.”

In my experience, the biggest critics are most unhelpful, uninvolved and unsupportive. Their mouths are the only active part of their anatomy.  Spectators are often the most talented critics.

 

Here are Four Fundamental Principles that Great Leaders of Today Utilise When Criticised:

 

1. Never Allow Criticism to Deny Your Success

 

It is painful discouraging when one negative attitude can erase the public’s memory from a solid track record of your past success or goodness.

During these moments stubbornly decide that you would not let others define your future success.

 

2. Respond to the Suggestions, not the Tone

 

As the senior pastor of a wonderful Church, over the years, I’ve encountered people who have tried to “help,” me.

They often begin saying things like, “I’m going to tell you something, that you need to listen to for your own good.” I’ve discovered that when they tell me, I need to listen to them for my own good they never seem to have anything good to tell me!

Their organisational altitude was never high enough to deal with the situation beyond their pigeon-view-position.

Yet, these conversations sometimes have helped me realise that what I need to hear most is what I want to hear the least, which often hid behind their harsh tone of inexperience and indifferences.

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” Frank A. Clark

As I learnt to separate their suggestions from their tone, I was able to learn so much more about the organisation and myself.

By the way, all these critics left one by one; they were not true friends to the organisation or me.

 

3. Value Constructive Criticism

 

The problems is that pretty often, we only value praise and we should. When people speak kind words we feel happy. When people criticise we feel opposite -miserable!

On the other hand, if we only received insincere praise and false flattery, how would we ever make progress?

If we wish to improve and develop we should invite constructive criticism and appreciate their suggestions.

The truth shall make you free or make you mad.

 

4. Ignore Destructive Criticism

 

Sometimes we are criticised with no justification. I have noticed this kind of criticism comes from people:

who are jealous,
who have a psychological need to downplay others to make themselves feel better,
who are arrogant,
who are fearful,
who may love you (parents, friends, coach, pastor,)
who want you to change,
who were criticised as children,
who are tough on themselves,
who despise you because of your goals,
who want to demonstrate their power,
who want to demonstrate their knowledge,
who want to deny their flaws,
who want to deny their mistakes.

This is a painful experience. We deal with criticism easily which is justified. When this happens you have two options: remain aloof or ignore it altogether.

I have always had the ability to ignore false critiques because it is like an ant trying to harm an elephant. If you remain silent and detached you give the criticism no more energy. If you feel the necessity of fighting it – in a way, you give it more attention than it deserves.

By remaining silent, we maintain a dignity that others will come to respect.

You don’t have to attend every argument to which you are invited.

There are battles worth showing up for and fighting and battles that are not worth your appearance.

 


How will you handle it differently? Which point may have helped you better understand how to deal with criticism?  Please leave a positive comment below and share with a friend.   

As business leaders, I am certain you are not unfamiliar with humble circumstances. The book of James tells us that we are to take pride in this “high” position. However, most of us would not consider humble circumstances a high position. Success in business after all means, being on top, being wealthy, attaining favour and status or having the power to influence.

 

“Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.” – James 1:9

 

However, Jesus influenced not from power, but from humility.

The success story of  J C Penney is synonymous with humble beginnings. He first launched his chain of ‘The Golden Rule’ stores in 1907. In 1910 his first wife died. Three years later he incorporated the J.C. Penney company. In 1923 his second wife died giving birth to his son. In 1929 the stock market crashed during the great depression and he lost $40 million.

By 1932, he had to sell out to satisfy…creditors. This left [Penney] virtually broke. Crushed in spirit from his loss with his health suddenly failing, he found himself one morning, hearing the distant singing of employees who gathered to start the day with God: “Be not dismayed, whate’er betide, God will take care of you…” was the morning song of thanksgiving and praise.

Penney followed the music to its source and slipped into a back row. The more he listened, the more God touched him. He left a short time later a changed man. His health and spirit renewed – ready to start the long climb back at age 56. By 1951 there was a J C Penney store in every state, and for the first time sales surpassed $1 billion a year.

The success of J C Penney can be traced to God’s mercy in his life to bring him out of his humble circumstances.

Do you find yourself in humble circumstances? God is the only One who can help you see your humble circumstances from His viewpoint as a high position. The place of strength, shaping, revealing and alignment.

It is a high position because of what God is able to teach you in this place. He does not intend you to stay there. It is merely a temporary stopping place to learn something eternally important that you would not learn otherwise.

Press into God and trust Him for the outcome of your circumstances!

You can have a great marriage!  A healthy marriage is a mixture of friendship and forgiveness.

 

1. Healthy couples speak respectfully about their spouse even when their spouse isn’t there to hear it

Your words are usually a sign of the state of your marriage, but your tone confirms it.

The tone in which you speak to, OR about your spouse, will ultimately set the tone of your entire marriage. Never speak harshly to each other, especially about each other. Disagreements are not a sign that you married wrong. On the contrary, disagreement and conflict can enhance your marriage. Make a decision to maintain a posture of mutual respect –  protect and defend your spouse’s reputation both publicly and privately. Speak to each other and speak about each other with RESPECT.

 

2. Share each other’s interests

This is such a huge factor; sadly most couples don’t do it often enough. Whatever your spouse values, should be valuable to you too.

Don’t allow your iPhone to become more important than your spouse or their interest. The healthiest of marriages never compromise ‘us time.’

 

3. Fight-fare not dirty

In marriage, there is no winner or loser; there are only wins or losses.

Fighting dirty can become a huge source of bitterness and frustration in marriage if it is not done right. Your spouse has seen you at your best AND seen you at your worst, at your prettiest and your ugliest. The healthiest of couples choose to bring out the best in each other by celebrating and highlighting each other’s strengths and areas of growth, instead of consistently holding each other down by bringing up mistakes from the past. Prevent keeping score, or using words like “you always,” “you just like.” In this case, both of you lose. When a couple chooses to encourage each other and extend grace, they both win. Healthy couples forgive each other quickly and work hard to rebuild trust when it has been damaged. They also endeavour to protect intimacy when it has been defiled.

4. Prioritise each other over everything

Great marriages don’t prioritise their careers, their hobbies or even their kids ahead of their marriage.

This is a hard pill to swallow, but if you have to choose between your career and your spouse, your friends and your spouse, or even your family and your spouse; you must always choose to put your spouse ahead of the rest.

One of the toughest priorities to establish, is to never let your kids come between you and your spouse. One of the most destructive things you can do is put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your children. Don’t end up with an “empty nest” syndrome. Invest in regular date nights or days. Find and pay reliable baby-sitters, have a budget for entertainment, model the kind of marriage that makes your kids excited to be married someday.

5. Sex is not an option

It takes more than sex to have a great marriage, but you cannot have a great marriage without sex.

If you only make love when both of you are equally ‘in the mood,’ it’s like waiting for all the stars in the galaxy to come into perfect alignment. The healthiest couples prioritise sexual intimacy. You should be having sex at least 4 times a week.

6. Never, never lie to each other

Dishonesty (or secrecy ) in any form is an enemy of intimacy and will destroy your friendship like nothing else.

If you want your marriage to grow and thrive, don’t keep secrets and don’t tell lies to each other. Your marriage will never be stronger than the level of trust you have for each other. The healthiest couples don’t have hidden bank accounts or secret passwords the other spouse doesn’t know about.

7. The healthiest couples have a spiritual conviction

It’s possible to have God in your marriage and still be unhappy, but I’m convinced that you cannot build a healthy marriage without God.

I’m also convinced the more you love God, the better capacity you will have to love each other. The healthiest couples I know are the ones who pray with and for each other. They are rooted in their faith, active in a healthy church and they put their faith in action by serving together to help their community.

In my recent post-EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, you can read about how EQ has proven to be more important than IQ (Intelligence Quotient.)

Emotional intelligence is without question, a potent business advantage. It helps boost our self-awareness, self-management, self-control, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills, all of which sets us apart as resplendent leaders.In this blog, I’d like to share 55 quotes to remind us of the power and importance of emotional intelligence and why we should focus on developing it further – inspired by Gordan Tredgold.

 

  1. If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. -Daniel Goleman
  2. 75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. -Center for Creative Leadership
  3. When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion. -Dale Carnegie
  4. When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves. -Jess C. Scott
  5. The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart. -Rasheed Ogunlaru
  6. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.-Theodore Roosevelt
  7. Unleash in the right time and place before you explode at the wrong time and place. -Oli Anderson
  8. The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. -John Hancock
  9. In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive, and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.         -Daniel Goleman
  10. Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. -Epictetus
  11. Anyone can be angry–that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way–that is not easy. -Aristotle
  12. Everytime we allow someone to move us with anger, we teach them to be angry. -Barry Neil Kaufman
  13. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -Leo Buscaglia
  14. Emotions can get in the way or get you on the way. -Mavis Mazhura
  15. Experience is not what happens to you–it’s how you interpret what happens to you. -Aldous Huxley
  16. Running a marathon with a backpack is tough and may hinder you from winning the race. Don’t let the baggage from your past–heavy with fear, guilt, and anger–slow you down. -Maddy Malhotra
  17. Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence. -T.K. Coleman
  18. When you make people angry, they act in accordance with their baser instincts, often violently and irrationally. When you inspire people, they act in accordance with their higher instincts, sensibly and rationally. Also, anger is transient, whereas inspiration sometimes has a lifelong effect. -Peace Pilgrim
  19. It isn’t stress that makes us fall–it’s how we respond to stressful events. -Wayde Goodall
  20. Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame. -Benjamin Franklin
  21. Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence. -Robert K. Cooper, PhD
  22. It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both. -David Caruso
  23. We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer
  24. For news of the heart, ask the face. -West African saying
  25. Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it. -Vincent van Gogh
  26. Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand … prejudice, fear, and ignorance walk hand in hand. -Peart
  27. The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions. -Donald Calne
  28. You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind. -Dale Carnegie
  29. Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you. -Roger Ebert
  30. Change happens in the boiler room of our emotions–so find out how to light their fires. -Jeff Dewar
  31. If we lack emotional intelligence, whenever stress rises the human brain switches to autopilot and has an inherent tendency to do more of the same, only harder. Which, more often than not, is precisely the wrong approach in today’s world. -Robert K. Cooper
  32. Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business. -Norman Vincent Peale
  33. To increase your effectiveness, make your emotions subordinate to your commitments. -Brian Koslow
  34. When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. -Stephen R. Covey
  35. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution. -Kahlil Gibran
  36. Remember that failure is an event, not a person. -Zig Ziglar
  37. We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful. -Eric Micha’el Leventhal
  38. I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will. -Antonio Gramsci
  39. It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  40. A leader is a dealer in hope. -Napoleon Bonaparte
  41. When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. -Ernest Hemingway
  42. Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone … just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. -F. Scott Fitzgerald
  43. Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy. -Dean Koontz
  44. He’d always known that shit rolled downhill, but he never knew tears did the same thing. -Amy Lane
  45. Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. -C.G. Jung
  46. Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got. -Janis Joplin
  47. Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.-Anthony de Mello
  48. The way to do is to be. -Lao Tzu
  49. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. -Carl R. Rogers
  50. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. -Socrates
  51. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, do we have the right to laugh at others? -C.H. Hamel
  52. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. -Jack Welch
  53. In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers. -Kevin Roberts
  54. One way to boost our willpower and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.          -Daniel Goleman
  55. Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the “success” in our lives. -J. Freedman
  56. (Peter asked) Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven time.” -Jesus Christ

Our life on this earth is limited, and how we live it matters. Some of the most important questions a leader needs to ask himself are ‘What do I want people to say at my funeral?’, “How do you want people to remember you?”,”What difference do you want to make?” 

 

When we come to the end of our lives the word -legacy matters most, and as an executive, you have a very short period to create your “executive legacy.” CEOs are not permanent fixtures.  In today’s markets -no job lasts forever, employees move on, and CEOs walk away more frequently than ever.

But no matter the reason for your departures, nearly all executives and CEOs share one common desire, their “Executive Legacy.”

When you arrive at the end of your life one day, “someone will summarise your life in one sentence.” The same applies to the CEO. As you reach the end of your working career, what will that one sentence be that people will remember you by?

 

BE A LEADER?

Most CEOs simply work, they don’t lead.  Legacy leaders create a lasting impact by intentionality – how they will lead in their working career. Don’t allow you work to lead you; you must lead your work.

Most CEOs concentrate on making their quarterly growth targets. Legacy leaders focus on both their immediate reality but are distinguished by their conviction, regarding the futuristic success of the organisation.

 

It’s All In The Questions

Legacy Leaders ask questions such as,

“How can we build the kind of advantage that will allow this company to thrive for decades in my absence?” or,

“How will we develop the next generation of leaders, and groom them for challenges that can’t yet be imagined?” or,

“How can we create a leadership pipeline that caters for the development of the new emerging giants – women in leadership?”

When a leader asks these questions, it’s a sign that you are serving titan!  A Leader’s Lasting Value is Measured By Succession -not by some projects he completed or by some institution he has started, but by the many people, he has invested (poured out) his life in.

Legacy leaders seek not only the success of the company but their people. To migrate from success to significance, they are constantly thinking of their legacy.

So is there a secret to building a celebrated executive legacy–especially in an era of shorter tenure?

Here are Four Principles I hope Will Inspire You:

 

1. Decide What Legacy You Want to Create

To create a powerful legacy with your life, you need to decide what contribution you want to make to the world, or to your company. Most people simply accept their lives. Legacy leaders lead their lives. They create a lasting impact by intentionality and being proactive about how they will lead and live.

To achieve this you will need to know how you want to lead and live. This will require some reflecting on the following questions:

If you knew with certainty that you only had nine more years to live on this earth or nine more months to work in your position as CEO, how would you spend this time and why?

What message do you want to send with your life to the world and to those who matter most to you?

Imagine that you are attending your own funeral. What would you want your family and friends to say about you and how you lived your life?

2. Start Creating Your Legacy Now

It is one thing to know what you want to leave behind and another to actually live it. Most people make a mistake by living their lives as if they have unlimited time. We all have a limited time in this life and at our jobs. If you want to create and leave a legacy, you must live it first now!

Don’t waste your life, waiting for the right person to show up, right opportunity to come to you or the right moment to happen.

Decide to make things happen. Be a person who makes things happen.

Look over your answers to the questions from Point 1. Based on your answers to those questions, identify three to five specific goals you can set for creating the legacy that you want.

Then, for each goal, figure out the first step you can take and start taking it today!

 

3. Choose Who Will Carry on Your Legacy

Your position is not permanent. You are in that position for a reason and a season, and a big part of that reason is -making way for others to come after you.

Your duty to the company is to:

Proactively search out individuals who will come in once you are gone.

Extend the invitation to such people, train and mentor them, create experiences for them and as you transition out, at the same time they transition up.

This is what legacy leaders strive for in every area of life. If you fail to invest in other gifted individuals who will carry it on, your legacy will die with you.

If you are passionate about something, I challenge you to find someone who will continue once you get tired or called to something else.

Best time to do so is while you’re still in the game!

 

4. Make Sure You Pass the Baton

Don’t throw the baton, pass on the baton.  The next generation should not have to look for it. Your duty is to pass it on securely.

Unfortunately, most people are so worried about their positions, achievements and seeing the glory of their accomplishments to fade, that they fail to pass the baton to others.

What most people define as great leadership is actually failed leadership,

All because they died with the baton in their hands,

Resulting in a great leadership deficit.

Our ability as leaders will not be measured by the buildings we built, institutions we established, but by how well the people we invested in carried on after we are gone.

“A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.” John Maxwell.