One of the true marks of maturity in a person is having the ability take criticism from others. And being able to take criticism is essentially required when in a position of leadership.
Personally, I think it is necessary, especially for leaders to be secure; being not only open to listen, but also to respect the opinions and views of others.
Criticism or feedback should not be seen as a form of personal attack, but objectively taken as an added perspective that could serve well towards a (common) goal.
The Anwar-Shabery debate
I was somewhat a surprise when I read that our neighbouring country, Malaysia held a debate between Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim and the Ruling Party’s Information Minister, Ahmad Shabery Cheek over the fuel price hike.
This was supposedly the first time such a ‘live’ debate was broadcast in the country. And it was watched carefully by almost the entire population of Malaysia.
Read the summary of the debate here>>>
I thought that the debate was a good example to illustrate how criticism should be welcomed to make room for socio-economic progression by sharing of information and involving the participation of citizens. Something that our democratic “first-world and first-class” nation can learn from.
If I recount correctly, the closes a broadcast ‘debate’ had ever sparked off was the recent confrontation between Dr Chee Soon Juan and the Lees in court over defamation charges against the former behind closed doors of the court.
As a leader, one will not be able to please everyone or meet every expectations. Hence, criticism is to be expected, even from those who might criticise for the sake of criticising.
But even if that happens, isn’t everyone entitled to his or her opinion and views as a stakeholder?