There are leaders who make decisions. There are those who don't. There are also those who criticize and nitpick. I was talking with a young leader who was having a hard time understanding a decision that a leader had made some time ago. The logic just didn’t add up and in hind-sight there were many mistakes that one could point to concerning this decision of the past. This young leader then spoke wisdom that was well beyond his years. He said, "My dad taught me long ago that the easiest thing to do is criticize others. When someone has the courage to make a decision that moves the needle it will never be perfect. There will always be those who criticize him/her yet those same people are unwilling to take the risk and put in the work to move things forward."
Our lives are filled with criticism. We see it in the media, in our communities and in our homes. Everyone has an opinion and it seems that they think it should be shared, even when it is not based on fact but feelings. This young leader challenged me to earn the right to offer criticism. The truth is that those who are quick to tell why we are wrong, probably are not those who have made decisions that move the needle. They most likely are not even in the game. Offering advice from the stands is not valuable. It is a distraction at best and it is destructive at worst.
The next time I see someone who is brave enough to make a decision that moves the needle I think I will do just that…think. Unless I am wiling to get in the game and put some sweat equity into the decision, I will keep my opinions to myself.
Moving the needle as a leader takes courage and hard work. In our homes or our work environment, less judgment and more openness to change will result in stronger, more meaningful relationships.
Choose to be slow to criticize and quick to understand and you will make a difference.