Stop Being So Defensive!

Defensiveness is an issue that causes a lot of harm in mentoring relationships – or any relationship for that matter.  When we are challenged, confronted, or questioned as Kidmin leaders – sadly we often respond with a knee-jerk, reflex response that does more harm than good.

For years, my insecurity caused me to struggle with being defensive.  Under the hurt feelings and protests is a deep sense that I’m not adequate, personally or professionally—or both.  No one is above correction, and we can all learn to handle it with grace.  Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of controlling my outward appearance when someone criticizes me, but I’m dying inside.  When this happens with my pastor, his perception kicks in.  He tells me, “You’re doing a great job in controlling the tone of your voice and looking relaxed while you’re still being defensive.”

He nailed me.  When I bristle from correction, I need to look into my heart to see what I’m trusting in.  I can then choose to thank God for his love and grace, and I can accept the correction as a gift instead of a threat.

Here’s the principle: When your actions are corrected, it doesn’t mean your character is being questioned.  Chill out and learn from the challenge instead of defending yourself to the death!

3 thoughts on “Stop Being So Defensive!

  1. Great challenge! This is such a crucial element of growth and maturity as a leader, but very under-taught because we don’t want to make anyone defensive! Let’s be leaders who invite evaluation and feedback so that we can grow in this area of Christ-likeness (Phil 2:5-11). Thank you!

  2. interesting Donna…I never thought of it as making someone defensive….

    I LOVE that your pastor would confront you on defensiveness like that Brian……what an eye opening article…thanks.

  3. Thanks Brian…..Your Timing is perfect ! I have a summer intern working with me and these thoughts will go into one of our “talks” over iced coffee…It’s a challenge as a leader and someone who needs to evaluate others, to not put ppl on the defensive. As well as take correction from our Leaders without taking offense….I like what Donna said, Let’s be leaders who invite evaluation. Thanks again.

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