Critic's Math

Yesterday was a day of new experiences. One favorable, the other not so favorable, but I'm glad I made the leap no matter what happens.

I know I'm feeling a little wounded from one of the conversations, but I'm not going to let that have power over me. What does this person even know about me anyway? We were complete strangers before this afternoon. He does not know my life experiences and I don't know his. And if there's anything I've learned about being a leader it's that you should see people for their track record, character, and possibilities rather than a narrow-minded vision of your ideal. Ideals are hardwired for let down. But a semi-calculated leap of faith? That's the best of both worlds. If the person let's you down, you've pretty much built yourself a buffer knowing it was a leap of faith. But if they end up rising to the occasion and surprising you beyond your expectations? That feeling is awesome.

I actually experienced this first-hand. My company was hiring new techs, and I kind of had my mind set on an ideal skill set, but one of my teammates convinced me to make a leap of faith and give this person a chance at learning and rising to the occasion because his track record looked promising. Best advice I ever took. Not only did this person rise to the occasion, but I was very sad to see him leave my team when he transitioned to a more developer intensive role.

When you are a young lead, you feel like you have a lot to prove - that all eyes are on you, watching for your every mis-step. Consequently you often make decisions that are very safe (aka you try to cover your ass and ensure you are still the rockstar). This is pretty much the most arrogant thing you can do as a leader and I can guarantee your team is suffering from it. You are not getting the best work from them because you are too worried about making yourself look good. If you are used to getting top grades and being the brightest in the room, this is a hard pill to swallow, but being a leader is about something much bigger than yourself.

That said, criticism levied at any level tends to be burning, so as Jon Acuff writes, we can't be blinded by Critic's Math:

Even if you've never seen it before, you know this equation. We brush off compliments like flies, but we are like homing missiles toward negative feedback, despite mountains of evidence that speak to the contrary. I have to remember that I'm the arbiter of whose words and actions I give power to. I know my abilities, I know my work ethic, I know me.

Ok. This helped. I'm glad I wrote it.

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.