Jon Acuff Method
Jon Acuff wrote about Loving Your Own Dream Too Much to Hate Somebody Else’s. In the post, he explains how he deals with haters:
When ever someone attacks me and the books I write, I always ask them a simple question:
“How did you write your book differently?”
That response is so powerful, I want to share and expand on it here.
As a leader, you are charged with making difficult decisions. Every decision comes with a trade-off. Every trade-off has the potential to make someone unhappy. Therefore, you are likely to encounter many haters in your career. We’re often trained to extinguish anger and frustration by inquiring how somebody would have done it differently. But that’s not Jon’s question.
Jon asks, “how did you” do it differently? When asked a theoretical question, the hater can always come back, still spitting venom, proclaiming their vastly superior suggestion. However, when asked to give a specific example of how they, themselves, handled the same or even similar situation, many haters will be quickly disarmed. The reality is, so many haters are so busy casting stones, they not bothered to collect any for their own home. They have no foundation. Haters often have no specific experience to call upon.
Dale Carnegie Method
In a similar disarming tactic, Dale Carnegie preached the use of this popular sentiment:
If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way.
Carnegie went on to explain this is always true. For, if you were born into that persons family, with their DNA, their life experiences and their perspectives, you would feel the same way. After all, you would be them. Yet placing this comment in front of a hater calms the temper. The individual suddenly has something in common with you and realizes you’re willing to see things from their perspective – even if you do not agree.
Combined Hater Mitigation Method
So the next time a hater crosses your path, don’t be angry or frustrated. Instead, try this:
If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way. Tell me, how did you handle a similar situation differently?
My bet is you will see a fast transformation from hate, to indifference to support.
Question: How do you handle haters?