How you deal with opposition as a leader will greatly impact how well you lead your organization into the future.  I think there are 5 typical ways that people deal with opposition:
  1. Become Overwhelmed by it.  Some leaders allow negativity and opposition to overwhelm them.  They replay what their opposition says over and over again in their head until they are consumed by negativity.  Usually this leads to leadership paralysis, and an inability to move the organization forward.
  2. Become Overly Defensive.  This is probably the most typical response to opposition.  Most people when under attack will attempt to defend themselves by explaining how the other party has either misunderstood them or doesn't have all the facts.  
  3. Become Overly Aggressive.  This might be a close second to becoming defensive.  Many people who are facing opposition will attempt to run a smear campaign against the opponent.  This happens a lot in the political world and far too often in the church.  Many couples also deal with conflict in this manner.
  4. Become People Pleasers.  Often times leaders will stop leading because of fear of opposition.  They will present a new plan or a new initiative and then pull the plan after it meets opposition.  Ultimately this leads to an organization that drifts from its mission and vision, and becomes a strange conglomeration of multiple competing missions and visions.
  5. Ignore It.  At first this seems to be a bad idea, but most often it is the best idea.  A great example of this is found in 1st Samuel 10:27.  Saul has just been appointed the king of Israel and some people don't like God's choice.  Here's what it says, "But there were some wicked men who complained, 'How can this man save us?'  And they despised him.  But Saul ignored them."  In the next chapter we read that Saul leads Israel to victory in a war with the Ammonites.  In a matter of days Saul's opposition was silenced and his role as leader was affirmed.  Often the best thing to do when people oppose you is to let your actions do the talking and to simply ignore the criticism.  
So how about you?  How do you usualy handle opposition?
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1 Response to 'How to Deal with Opposition'

  1. Donnie Miller'> 09:54

    Good post. I think it sometimes depends upon the nature and origin of the criticism. There are different types of criticism and it comes from people with whom we have various degrees of "sweat equity" (to quote Dave Thornhill).
    It is very important for me however, to not focus too much emotional energy on critics. Running a smear campaign is tempting sometimes would be quite easy, but thankfully I'm just mature enough to know I shouldn't do that.


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