We live in a world where haters are abundant. Webster’s Dictionary defines a hater as, “a person who actively and aggressively criticizes and disparages something or someone.” In the Leadership and Main thesaurus, some synonyms of hater include critic, Debbie Downer, and discourager.
I so wanted to call this post, “Haterade: the official sports drink of critics,” but I did not. In a quick Google search it appears there are already beverages out there with the name and some heightened sensitivity from the bigger sports drink companies on the use of it. Therefore, we will steer clear and try not to stir up any haters!
I generally write on those people we want to emulate as community leaders or the leadership characteristics that define good community leaders. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of who we do not want to be. As you grow as a leader, you become more magnetic to others. You will attract high quality followers, but you will also attract haters.
Here are six reasons why you do not want to be a hater:
Haters See Things in High Definition Slow Motion Replay
Haters have the distinct ability to see everything in high-definition slow motion replay from six different camera angles, and then tell you what you should have done better.
So let us set the record straight before continuing. I am a coach. I am not a referee or umpire. I think you are one or the other. You have to pick a team! Even as a coach I can empathize with referees and umpires. As fans of professional and collegiate sports, we all get the luxury of watching a call the referee or umpire made in slow motion replay, then offering our opinion on the call we would have made.
Leadership requires making decisions in real time. None of us are granted the luxury of being able to see how things will play out before we make decisions. If I could go back and get a mulligan on every bad decision I ever made, I would be a much better decision maker. I would be a way better leader. Unfortunately, that is not the way things work.
Haters Sit in the Cheap Seats
From a coaching standpoint. Haters can be found in your local ball fields to professional stadiums. I coached youth football for twenty-one years and called thousands of plays. We experienced a lot of success over those years, but the haters tended to come out when things got tough. When the team was in battle.
Here is what I told the parents at the beginning of each season. Every play I call is intended to get positive yards. If I knew that we would end up losing yards on a play, not get the first down, fumbled, or threw an interception, I would not have called that play either. Haters can focus heavy on the outcome and not our intentions. The intention at the time I called the play was success. The outcome is success or failure. The haters will be silenced if the outcome if successful, they will start hating if it is not.
Haters Hate on People Further Ahead Than Them
If you are being hated on by someone you are likely ahead of them in life, career, and just being a good human being. John Maxwell says, “If you are getting kicked in the rear, it means you are out in front.” So true! So find comfort if you have haters, you are ahead of them.
One of the most perplexing things for me to watch on Saturdays in the Fall is the level of criticism someone can have for a nineteen-year-old kid playing quarterback in a college football game. That kid is so much further ahead of where the hater ever was and ever will be. It simply amazes me to watch social media light up when a kid makes a mistake (Yeah, you should feel bad).
I think there should be a National Football League like combine for haters. Put the washed up, armchair quarterback on national television with 70,000 other haters. Let them get chased by a defensive end that is bigger, faster, and stronger than them while asking them to throw a football into a small window of opportunity with the game on the line. That would be some good reality television!
Haters Commonly Use “Comma, But”
Ever been around that person that starts off the sentence with a complement, then quickly follows it up with “comma, but?” Yeah, they are a hater. This is pretty predictable for the haters in your life. You see it coming from a mile away. Most haters have trouble giving someone else props or credit, so when they muster up the ability to do so, expect it to be negated by “comma, but!”
Haters Tear Down Others to Build Themselves Up
A friend in my men’s group at church said something really profound he had heard, “The easiest way to have the nicest house in the neighborhood is to tear down the others.” That is spot on! The only way haters find value in themselves is to devalue others. That is their ultimate motive.
Haters Suck the Life Out of You
In Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus, he introduces the concept of energy vampires. These are the people in your world that suck the life out of you. They are critical, negative, pessimistic, cynical, manipulative, and always have an opinion on how something could have been done better. You want to head in the other direction when you see them coming, you cannot get out of there quick enough when they find you, and you are relieved when they go.
I went back and looked at some notes from a Lunch with a Leader event I attended. It is a monthly leadership event in our community that my pastor and good friend Mike Linch puts on. He spoke on critics that day and the message has always stuck with me. He shared two impactful quotes that day:
- “Criticism is something that you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” -Aristotle
- “Any fool can condemn, criticize, and complain and most do.” -Dale Carnegie
He shared as well that “leaders revel in others successes, critics revel in other’s failures.” Be the leader, not the hater. As community leaders we better others and the world we live in. We need to inspire, not discourage. We need to build up, not tear down. We need to stay focused on those that we lead and not those who cause us to bleed.
Let haters hate. It is what they do. We will choose the path to make our communities a better place to be.
We will close on this. Leadership expert and my teenage daughter’s favorite musical artist, Taylor Swift offers some great advice on dealing with haters in her song Shake it Off, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, I shake it off.”
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
Do you know a hater in your world? Are you being a hater? Are you inspiring or discouraging? Are you building up or tearing down?