I saw two guys today who looked very different. They had the strangest hats on and were wearing coats that looked like they were out of a western. You know the ones that people hide shotguns under? So, of course, being a horrible person, I started thinking thoughts like, "Howdy boys, can you tell me how to get to the saloon?" "Hey there pa'tners, where'd your wagon break down?" Or, "I did like this, I did like that, I did it with a waffle ball bat, so I'm on the run, the cops got my gun, and right about now it's time to have some fun..." You can thank the Beastie Boys for that last one. I know, not western at all. Once I finished assaulting the two, fine gentlemen mentally, one of them spun around.
Way to go Brad! You were just making fun of...
Let's take a leadership lesson here: I often criticize the creativity of someone else without knowing their story. Don't we all do this? We make quick judgements because of our position. Yet, we never evaluate someone's heart before we make that judgement. I think about William Paul Young writing The Shack. All he was trying to do for his own children was write a story that would display the heart of God, he himself, had experienced. Then the book blew up. I heard Christian after Christian trashing Mr. Young. Did they know his story? No. Did they know his intentions? No. Only people who have to be right would continue to blast him after hearing his life story and his purpose behind writing the book.
If you have the time, watch this interview:
As leaders do we criticize first or do we encourage? Do we ask "why" questions first or do we simply critique? When you smash someone's creativity in finding solutions, you might be discouraging their process of growth or healing.