“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” — Aristotle.
Many of us avoid criticism because we’ve had bad experiences in the past. As a child, anger usually accompanied criticism. And I grew up to avoid conflict at any cost. In fact, I purposely tried to be invisible to avoid being noticed or eventually called out.
As a leader, if you avoid criticism, you inadvertently avoid creativity, best practice, and even mission alignment. These essential leadership qualities must filter through criticism, brainstorming (good and bad), adjustments, and a true level of awareness and critical thinking.
Why I Can Now Handle Criticism
This is what I love about God. He knows your past, present, and future. He brought two major situations into my life that helped me work through my avoidance of criticism.
1. Think Tank Group
I joined a group of very intelligent and very verbal leaders who discussed issues and solutions. This group was a safe environment to share ideas without the negative ramifications if I had a failed (or even ignorant) idea or thought. It was an incredible think tank.
2. Challenged by a Friend
There was a time when my best friend challenged my thinking constantly through the Word of God. She continued to give me a safe place to share and express myself while letting God heal and restore.
Back to Exit Interviews
What does this have to do with exit interviews? Everything. As organization leaders, we do not realize the wealth of information and ideas we can receive when an employee leaves our organization. Since many of us tend to follow this Aristotle quote and avoid criticism at any cost by “saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”—we fear what might be said in an exit interview.
Since now the former employee has no real ramification of speaking truth, if you’re willing to hear criticism, your ministry can benefit greatly from this exit interview. Well thought out and probing questions can help your organization identify areas of weakness, potential setbacks, staff silos, and mission drifting.
On my refrigerator I use to have the saying, “To live a creative life you must lose your fear of being wrong.”- Joseph Chilton Pearce.
Let me take it a step further and say, “To live a leadership life, you must gain a wealth of perspectives.”
I would love to hear about how you conduct exit interviews. Or let’s talk through how to grow your organization through the valuable insights learned through the exit interview process. You can email me here.
Email this blog to a friend who you think might benefit from it. I’m sure they’ll thank you!