Tag Archives: correction

Bad News As a Precious Gift

Story of the Day for Friday March 30, 2012

Bad News As a Precious Gift

“Do not rebuke an arrogant man or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will become wiser still.”
Proverbs 9:8-9

If you were the head of a large organization, would you be most receptive to subordinates bringing you good news or bad news?

We would all prefer to hear good news, right? But great leaders realize that an organization’s health depends on the leader’s openness to receiving bad news.

Colin Powell, in his book, My American Journey, says, “The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”  Problems cannot be dealt with unless leaders are aware of them.  And leaders will not be aware of them unless subordinates feel free to share their gripes with their leaders.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, shares the same sentiment as Colin Powell.  He says, in Business @ the Speed of Thought, “Sometimes I think my most important job as CEO is to listen to bad news.” He goes on to explain that if you are not receptive to people bringing you bad news, and if you don’t act on it, they will eventually stop bringing you bad news. When that happens, it’s the beginning of the end.

I tend to get frustrated when people complain about me and how I do things.  But that puts me in a dangerous place.  If people anticipate a cold reception when they bring their complaints or suggestions to me, they will stop bringing their concerns altogether.  To no longer have people complaining and criticizing me would feel so good that I would be tempted to encourage them to keep their mouths shut.

But once we are unreceptive to hearing bad news about ourselves, we lose invaluable opportunities to grow in wisdom and character.

A wise man wants to be informed when others see him acting in a way that is unadvisable. He views criticism as a way to grow in wisdom, and encourages others to be honest in pointing out faults in his behavior and decisions.

It’s not fun to be criticized. (Did I say it was fun?  It’s not.)  But we do need to make clear to others that we welcome their rebukes.   We may not agree with all of them, but even if we don’t, we have at least gained the knowledge of how someone else feels about our behavior.

So, how do we let others know that we are open to being corrected?  For starters, if someone corrects you, DO NOT immediately retaliate by correcting them. Secondly, thank them and let them know that you appreciate their honesty and the courage to tell you bad news.  And, finally, take the attitude of great leaders like Colin Powell and Bill Gates and view the delivery of bad news as a precious gift – as a way to be aware of problems and make things better.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

It’s Okay to Change Your Answer

Story of the Day for Wednesday March 28, 2012

It’s Okay to Change Your Answer

  Just as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

The secret to becoming more Christ-like is, oddly enough, to behave in a way that Christ never did.

Even though Jesus was often criticized for his behavior, he never admitted he was wrong. That’s because he was never wrong.

In our case, however, not much is going to happen in our lives until we learn to listen to the criticisms of others and admit when we’re wrong.

If you’re thinking, “Okay, but I’m seldom wrong when others criticize me,” then you’ve come to the right place, because I intend to show you that you’re . . .wrong. Let’s start with this: suppose you’re taking a test and then go back and change your answer. Is your changed answer more likely to improve your score?  Three quarters of college students say no – your changed answer is more likely to be incorrect.  Professors feel the same way, only more so.  Only 16% of professors believe that changing your initial answer on a test will improve your score.

Guess what? They’re wrong. Researchers have been studying this subject for over 70 years now. One researcher examined 33 different studies on this question and every study agreed: students who change an answer on a test are more likely to improve their score.

So, why do the majority of people still favor their initial answer as the correct one?  Could it point to a deeper issue?  Could it be that we have an aversion to admitting that we were wrong in something we did?  Could it be that we are so enamored with our views and opinions that we are reluctant to admit we’re wrong?  That’s what it seems like.

If we want to grow into the image of Christ, we must stop being so impressed with ourselves.  Our focus must not be in defending how right we are, but in admitting how wrong we are.  Only a humble heart can admit faults.  Only one who admits his faults can know how good it feels to have Jesus forgive him.

Do you know what I do when others point out flaws in my character?  My first instinct is to defend myself.   But I cannot grow from the correction of others until I begin by considering the possibility they are probably right.

Darn it.

Others can see faults in us to which we are blind.  We need to listen, evaluate, repent . . . and know that it is okay to “change our answer.”

Yeah, yeah, I realize there are many times when those who criticize us are wrong.   But they aren’t wrong as often as we think.

We aren’t going to make much progress in our spiritual life until we learn that others can see things in ourselves that we cannot.

                                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)