When you're trying to lead change in your organization, you will always have critics.

Most leaders resist critics because they pour cold water on vision and strategy. And half the time, leaders are right to keep critics as far away as possible. The other half the time, keeping critics distant can prove to be fatal.

You have two kinds of critics in your organization. One group of people will never be won over. They're chronic critics who love to poke holes in plans and play the devil's advocate, but will never be persuaded despite a mountain of evidence against them. In most cases, this person has no actual influence because everyone knows his colors. The leader does well to remove him if it's possible, and marginalize him if removal is not possible.

The other kinds of critics are the people who are just not-yet-convinced. They're critical of plans because they haven't been persuaded that a plan of action is the best one. If the leader ignores these critics, it is to his own peril. These people can serve as a great sounding board for leaders because they help the leader shape his plans and communication to be as comprehensive as possible. They also help to point out flaws in logic and blind spots the leader hadn't considered, and nobody else bothered to point out. Their critiques are sincere, and come from the same heart as the leader's: a heart for the health of the organization. Though it can be exhausting for a leader to spend time with these people, if he is wise they will be some of his most trusted advisers.

If you distance yourself from everyone who disagrees with you, you will soon find yourself surrounded by a bunch of people who don't have anything to say to you. You'll be limited to your own wisdom and intellect, and that's a dangerous place to be.