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How to Take Criticism in Stride

Let critics know they’ll be heard

No CEO takes the top job expecting to always be agreed with. But the reasons that a CEO can receive criticism are more robust and intense than ever, from return-to-office policies to political stances to unusual hobbies that some consider a distraction. (Insensitive social-media posts can invite brickbats, too, even on relatively calm venues like LinkedIn.)

Which is to say that successful leaders should make an effort to anticipate criticism and create environments where it can be expressed in a healthy way—whether that is among staff, board members or other association stakeholders. In a recent Sloan MIT Management Review article on the topic, authors Phillip Clampitt and Bob DeKoch spotlight some of the ways executives tend to get that wrong. But they effectively boil down to the same error: ignoring the problem and wishing it would just go away.

CEOs might do that by ceding the discussion to those who deliver the loudest and most impassioned comments, not necessarily most thought-through arguments; effectively being that person by taking authoritarian, my-way-or-the-highway stances; or telling critics that their concerns are irrelevant or overinflated, which, the authors write, offers "false certainty that undermines trust in the long term."

Please select this link to read the complete article from Associations Now.

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