Criticize or Lead? Choose the Latter!

Critics are those, who watch the battle from a high place and then come down and shoot the survivors. ~ Ernest Hemingway

There will never be a shortage of critics willing to second-guess decisions (whether simple or complex) made by those in positions of leadership.

Presidents, CEO’s, community leaders, sports coaches; it matters not. To the critic, all are apparently serial incompetents. If they’d only listened to someone that knew what should have been done, (especially with complex decisions) we’d have all been better off. So, to all those in positions of leadership, recognize one absolute.

Critics have a great deal of trouble making much less-complex decisions in their own lives. Some even have trouble deciding what to eat for dinner. In fact, with closer examination, you’ll find that the loudest critics have very poor track records compared to those they choose to criticize. You’ll even find that most of them criticize from a platform full of double-standards.

Complex decision making is a skill. It involves (1) the ability to gather information that seems irrelevant, (2) the ability to ignore information that seems urgent, (3) the ability to patiently consider not just short term, but long-term implications, and (4) really good instincts. Some are better at it than others, but it is a skill that can be learned.

The critic can’t learn that skill. Why? Because good decision-making begins with a commitment to make the decision, which is the hardest part. The critic doesn’t have that kind of fortitude; it’s just easier to criticize.

As noted in my last post, you notice what you care about, and you respond accordingly. Choose not to notice the critics. There are more important people (and things) to notice.