When someone questions me I often find that I don’t like my reaction. Sometimes I get defensive, sometimes I retreat or sometimes I even ignore the comments. I want to do this better. I want to come up with my own strategies for being less defensive when I’m questioned about something … anything!
I’ve watched those people in my life that I see as leaders and I’ve distilled their actions, when questioned, into the three ways to be a better leader and less defensive:
1. Make sure my decisions are well thought out and have integrity.
If I’ve made a good decision – full of integrity, I should not be afraid of someone questioning me. It’s when I’m not comfortable with my decision or it was made in haste, that I become defensive. Being a leader means, by definition, that you will frequently be questioned about decisions and judgement. Being less defensive about my decisions means I have to be operating at the moral level that I expect from myself.
2. Make sure I don’t confuse my worth and value with my decisions.
This is big for me. I have a tendency to worry that if I make a decision people don’t like, that my value with drop. If I’m questioned, I wonder if I am a worthy leader/person.
We have to remember that our worth and value is much more than a decision or two that we might make. We set our own mind-tapes. When we listen to someone questioning us, if we have a negative tape going, we will hear it as criticism and it will affect how we view ourselves. If we set the tape on positive play, we will hear it much differently and or inner and outer value will be enhanced as we listen openly and show a willingness to go in a direction we hadn’t anticipated.
3. Make sure I’m humble.
I once read an article on humble leaders. They are the strongest leaders because “humility is strength.” My kids constantly tell me not to take myself so seriously and I think that’s critical to being less defensive and being more open. Being humble helps when we are making decisions that affect others. The most narcissistic people I know have no idea how to spell humble. Everything is about them. And, they have no strength. Those who have humility – are the most incredible people I know.
So, our goal should be to ensure we feel comfortable with our life decisions and know that we’re making the best decision at the time and with the information we possess at that moment. If we are able to do that, we will be comfortable when we’re questioned, we’ll have our listening ears open, and maybe we’ll learn something new!
Have a great weekend!