Sometimes it makes no sense even attempting to respond to criticism. To be criticised is certainly not the best feeling in the world, but criticism can be a sign that you are making progress. It is not something you want to avoid; rather it is what you must come to expect. One definition of criticism is that it is the judgment of the merits and faults of the work or actions of one individual by another. When you start taking action or achieving success, criticism is not far behind. Even though most of us don't like being criticised, it’s my experience that it is a natural part of leadership and governance. There is no way to avoid criticism.
Success is not a popularity contest nor is leadership or striving for excellence. Criticism may even show up as well-meaning advice. Critics and criticism can also be a reflection of weak and overwhelmed individuals responding to the success of others.
Some people simply criticise and mud sling for the pure thrill of being critical, taking an almost perverse joy in doing so. In many instances, the individuals doing the mudslinging is threatened by the individual or group he or she is belittling. People who habitually disparage others do not have solutions. Non achievers and non-performers criticise very often. They try to convince you that you should stop doing the things that need to be done. Mediocrity is always critical of excellence. Mediocrity's main task is to tear down excellence and those who are striving to be the best they can be. Criticism goes hand in hand with success. An attempt to change the way things have been done can also attract criticism. Reports suggest that West Indies cricket coach Otis Gibson in the early stage of his tenure wanted to change the attitude of the West Indies cricketers towards fitness. National rugby coach Larry Mendez also deemed it necessary to prioritise fitness. Both men have been heavily criticised. Once you keep focused, sooner or later, the very same people who were putting you down will sing your praises. There is no better way to respond to criticism than to succeed.
West Indies cricket captain Darren Sammy's approach is probably the best one. “Never worry about the critics; I go by one way in my life. I say if Jesus Christ... never did a thing wrong but yet still he was crucified, who is Darren Sammy? That’s the way I live my life.... everybody will have an opinion." Sometimes criticism can be valid even though it may not appear to be constructive. As an example, an individual who has the wherewithal to provide financial support for sport made the point to me that he will never do so because local sport has too much confusion. As much as I tried to explain that what was in the public domain in the media was more the exception than the rule examples going back years were used to justify the negative criticism. The perception appears to be that the individuals within local sport seem to be lacking the capacity of self-analysis, correction and refinement. And therefore the ability for independent decision making and leadership appears to be under developed.
Sensitive and critical situations and issues within the operating environment in local sport ought not to be a surprise. That the same mistakes and scenarios keep presenting over and over should alarm those who are serious about the sustainable development of sport. With an integrative, collaborative and facilitative attitude and approach, there is a greater likelihood of optimal benefit being achieved rather than detrimental effects. In closing congrats to the West Indies cricket team. Brian Lewis is the Honorary Secretary General of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee http// http://www.ttoc.org/
. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.