“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1.10
Sometimes you’re going to make people angry, not because you do something wrong but because you do something right. People generally do not like change, even if the change is for the good. Ruffle feathers, touch a sore spot, topple a sacred cow, disrupt the status quo, and people will respond negatively.
In those moments, how will you respond? In the past, I’ve responded well and poorly, and here’s what I’ve learned:
- The way people respond to a decision does not make that decision more or less correct.
- Listen to your critics. They will usually teach you more than your fans.
- You do not have a moral obligation to respond to every criticism. Sometimes the best response is no response at all.
- Avoid the temptation to fire off an angry email response to a criticism. Email is permanent. Assume your response will be read by everyone, so have a trusted friend or colleague preview written responses before you send them.
- Don’t obsess over what others think. You don’t need their approval. They cannot make you feel bad about yourself without your permission.
- Ultimately, there’s one opinion that matters above all, and God regards you highly, even when you screw up.