Most of the time, you will see leadership advice admonishing younger managers to be thick skinned. Ditto for advice to new authors, songwriters or anyone in the public arena. The mantra never changes: Have a thick skin.
Any leader will tell you that you cannot be too sensitive. There are always critics. No matter what your intentions, you will find that some people will respond negatively. That’s just human nature.
But everyone reacts differently to criticism. Believe me, I’ve had my share. Some of it is mean or misguided, so I ignore it. Some of it is hilarious, so I keep it to laugh. And some of it is true and points out a weakness, so I keep it to learn.
Listening to the toughen-up directive always made me wonder. It’s a common mantra, but what do you do with that advice? Is there an emotional gym to strengthen our ability to ignore criticism?