Seth Godin posted this in his blog this past weekend: “Just because he’s angry… doesn’t mean he’s right.”
You can read the rest here.
It is so easy to listen to the critics and those that are angry. The reason is obvious, we want to be liked. When we encounter someone who is angry or critical, it stirs up an uncomfortable feeling of rejection within us. The natural response in that moment is to defend or appease. Neither response often leads to a positive end, unless the person is really right (thought that may be for another post).
It can be hard to tell the difference between a critic who is right and one that is just critical. Anger usually masks reason. This is a quality that is essential for a successful leader. Leaders must know when to listen to a critic and when to ignore the critic.
There are signs and red flags to watch out for to be sure.
One thing to ask: does this person care about me or about this church/organization or are they just someone with an agenda? If the person truly cares, then there may be something to what they are saying.
Another thing to ask: do they have a vested interest in where we are going/ what we are doing or are they just spouting opinion?
Leaders must be constantly evaluating everything: their own leadership, the organization, the direction, those involved, etc. Part of the evaluation process is determining whether or not something in an organization fits in the core values. If it (or he/she) does not, then action needs to be taken.
Critics and angry individuals are just interested in power and a feeling of justification. As long as they can cause others to react to them or bow under pressure, they are appeased for a time. As soon as someone stands up to them they become indignant and huffy and will eventually move on. The key is to keep these type people from gaining positions of influence. This is accomplished by recognizing them early and confronting the issue.
This is especially hard in the church because it doesn’t feel “nice”. We like peace and we want everyone to get along and be a part of what is happening. But, those who are critical and angry will just bring the whole down if they are allowed to gain a foothold. The more we give in to them and allow them to have a platform, the greater their influence becomes until it eventually explodes into a full power struggle with many spiritual and emotional casualties.
The best thing is to recognize it quickly, deal with it, and allow them to move along.
What are your thoughts about critical and angry people?