I started this particular podcast preparing to do a 4 minute forethought on the topic of diplomacy. But as is usually the case when one goes spelinking – one thing led to another and I was struck by something that I know I have heard before but felt it’s worth sharing for anyone else who might need a reminder as I received.

Even more than being diplomatic there’s an element of diplomacy which is exhibited through how a great leader handles criticism. And going down that path leads to some very relevant and fascinating, even thought-provoking subjects and interviews. And I couldn’t reference them only and wrap things up in a 4 minute lighting format so I simply have to include at least two of these interviews and take this into a longer ABT podcast. (ABT is the Always Be Thinking podcast I publish rather infrequently when I just can’t help but wax eloquent, or as some might say, jump on a soapbox about a particular subject).

So here are my thoughts around the subject of criticism with two interviews included for your reflection. I hope you find this as valuable as I did. If it’s new to you then consider every word, if it’s familiar then I hope it will be a powerful reminder as we all strive to be better leaders in our day to day roles.

How a great leader handles criticism is a fascinating subject and there are several instances, I believe, which demonstrate how a great leader can handle criticism. There are of course many who would point to the manner in which Steve Jobs handled criticism in a live interview during a product announcement.

But, there’s a second question and response from a different interview from a very different person I’d also like to share on the subject of how a great leader handles criticism. The late Eleanor Roosevelt responds with elegance.

I think it’s quite obvious from these two examples how a great leader handles criticism. Even in these two very different examples – in fact, I think about as different as you could possibly get – we see the same character qualities. The quality of humility, self-degradation, or at the very least acknowledgement of their own short-comings. What an incredibly powerful testament to what I believe to be a key principle of being a great leader. Remember, it’s not the critic who counts….but the man in the arena.