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?
Not too long ago, a major power outage affected millions of people in Arizona, California and Mexico. Two nuclear reactors were temporarily shut down. Traffic backed up for miles all over the area. Cars collided as frustrated drivers navigated without traffic signals. Airports were shut down, stranding passengers. Happening on an incredibly hot, triple-digit-temperature September day, the power outage knocked out much needed air conditioning. It left people stuck in elevators. Even the outdoors was affected. San Diego beaches were closed when almost two million gallons of raw sewage spilled, a result of the water pumps failure at the regional station. The failure continued to wreak havoc days after it was resolved.
The expression “moving the needle” first appeared in England during the industrial revolution. The reference was to gauges on steam engines. During World War II, it became a more common term in reference to aviation gauges. In business today it’s synonymous with making progress.
I’ve seen three major types of people in business. One person can describe the needle, the other can move the needle, and rarely someone can do both. What do I mean?
Joel Osteen is the Senior Pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, the largest church in the U.S. He’s immediately recognizable from his television ministry, bestselling books and stadium appearances.
Pastor Osteen has a consistent message of encouragement and hope. That inspirational message resonates with the members of his home church and also with the millions who tune in to his weekly broadcast.