Guest Post by Dan Rockwell

Agree with people when they point out their own weaknesses.

“Comfort may obstruct growth and solidify the status quo.”


Say, “You know you’re right, you can be too critical,” when someone says they’re too critical. Don’t say, “Oh, it’s not that bad.”

When team members say they’re too critical, thank them for their transparency. “Thanks for saying that. I respect your transparency.”

3 questions:

Three questions that turn weaknesses into opportunities for growth. (I’ve inserted some common self-criticisms.)

  1. If you weren’t critical who would you be?
  2. If you were decisive, what would be true of you?
  3. If you connected with others better, what would you be doing?


When a team member says, “I’m too critical,” give an affirmation and ask a question.

Bob says, “I’m too critical.” You reply, “You know you’re right. You can be too critical. Thanks for saying that. If you weren’t too critical, who would you be?

Frank says, “I’m not decisive.” Say, “I agree. So, what would be true of you, if you were more decisive?

Mary says, “I’m not connecting well with others.” Take her seriously. “I hear your concern. If you connected well with others, what would you be doing?

Second questions:

Tipping points for growth happen after first responses. First answers are generally easy, obvious, and superficial. For example:

When you ask, “So, what would be true of you, if you were more decisive?”, they might provide the obvious response, “I’d be more decisive.”

The second time you ask the same question often produces better results. “But what would be true of YOU if you were more decisive?” Listen for responses that speak to their own attitudes and behaviors. “I would be…”

Growth requires honest, sometimes awkward reflection, not superficial answers.

How might leaders turn the self-criticism of others into tipping points for growth?

Dan Rockwell’s daily leadership blog LeadershipFreak  designed to help leaders reach higher in 300 words or less. He is currently surpassing a million views a year.  Dan also presents, trains, coaches and mentors current and emerging leaders/managers.  And in addition enables individuals and organizations to leverage social media to achieve strategic objectives.



The Essence of Your Job

Excerpted with the permission of the authors from Chapter 18 of Power Questions: I’m at lunch with my...

Great Leaders Ask Great Questions

Guest Post by Richard Blackaby I went to school for 24 years. I should have liked it, but I must confess that...


Guest Post by Drew Browne People usually try to understand things in terms of what they already know. This is...


Excerpted from Chapter Two of “Leadership for Sustainability Powered by Questions” by Thomas...


Excerpted from Chapter One of “Leadership for Sustainability Powered by Questions” by Thomas...

Ten Power Questions Your Donors Will Love

Guest Post by Gail Perry Here’s a natural, friendly and much more successful approach to major gift...

34 Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients to Begin With

Guest Post by Sai Blackbyrn Originally Posted @ Sai.Coach/Blog Navigating through the ups and downs of life...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.