Since I don’t allow anonymous comments on my blog*, sometimes I get e-mails with long diatribes on why I am wrong. Some are quite extensive and come from people who take my critiques to heart (sometimes taking things too personally). Not only do I love these e-mails, but if you send one, be ready to have a dialog!
I am absolutely honored to hear comments in person or via social media. I enjoy knowing when my answers to a question on LinkedIn (or Answers.onstartups.com) or another blog helps someone. But the world would not advance anywhere if everyone agreed! Therefore, I also highly value feedback from those who disagree with me (as long as it is presented in civilized manner). My critics and detractors keep me on my toes! No one is right all the time and I often advocate that being wrong often helps us move our companies forward faster.
Here’s why I love my critics and why you should too:
- People who agree with you are much less likely to point out your weaknesses. Critics love to latch onto your weak points! Observe, listen, and improve!
- Without critics, one starts “drinking” too much of their own Kool-aid and believing their own BS.
- If no one is pointing out your weaknesses or predicting your failures, it means you are so insignificant that you are not worth someone’s effort to react to what you do.
- Critics are the cheapest way to get consulting. It is free advice you can use to your advantage.
- If no one in your company is criticizing your decisions as a leader, you have hired the wrong people! If no one has the testicular/ovarian fortitude to help you, you may be suffering from Napoleonic syndrome and surrounding yourself with brown-nosers.
* In my opinion, part of freedom of speech is accountability for your words. Since my blog is a conversation, I apply the same rules that I do in real world – if you have a comment, you can’t be a chicken and hide behind the anonymity of the internet.