(6) COPING WITH CRITICISM
I dare to say that no single issue reveals the maturity of Christian leadership more quickly than how a person copes with criticism. Fair criticism is hard to bear and requires humility and a willingness to respond. But unfair criticism is inevitable and require toughness of spirit to deflect. The combination; "Shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16) calls for tough minds combined with tender hearts.
We must not be naive about how hard it is to cope with criticism. In my book 360degree leadership I reflect on different coping mechanisms commonly used, and the need to work hard to better deal with conflict. But Christian leaders should also be marked out by the joy that is Christ's gift to his disciplies (John 15:11), and by accompanying generosity. Joyful generosity overwhelms unfair criticism (Rom. 12:20,21). Christian leaders don't give up loving when challenged.