On Being Thick-Skinned

By | October 28, 2021

[October 28, 2021]  A well-known characteristic of great leaders is a thick-skinned personality. This is only possible when the leader is one that possesses extensive, broadly-based, and relevant experiences. Yet, this does not necessarily mean the leader is arrogant or uncaring. In the best of leaders, being thick-skinned means also being humble and optimistic.

Being thick skinned means being able to personally deal with the failures, rejections, insults, and other stresses that comes with leading. All leaders can expect to face criticism of all their decisions. This is particularly true of senior leaders.

Senior leaders can anticipate the worst from the ill-informed, the immature, the resentful, and the power-hungry types. Today, these people are everywhere and are encouraged by the notoriety they get from attacking others.

Good examples of those who had to quickly develop a thick skin against criticism were Mike Lindell, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, and Colonel Sanders. These men had many failures and rejections, their decisions second guessed, and experienced name-calling on a grand scale.

All overcame the small but numerous attacks on them and their families. They did so with grace. Those who inappropriately attacked them showed their lack of intellect and lack of professionalism.

“I have a thick skin, but I have a heart.” – Dan Savage

Leaders that develop a thick-skinned personality must never lose sight of the fact that there is a downside to it. Overcoming arrogance and a lack of caring should be on their list of things to avoid.


[Some good links on being thick skinned]


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

12 thoughts on “On Being Thick-Skinned

  1. Dead Pool Guy

    Gen. Satterfield thank you for another spot on article. I’m a long-time reader of your leadership blog and I enjoy it each day. I’ve encouraged many to come here and read it and also comment. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Plenty of us like that Dead Pool Guy (I love your avatar).

      1. Cat A Miss

        Many many fans out there of this leadership website … informative and entertaining. And, we get to read about what a real leader thinks about current topics. I suggest everyone go also to read the Daily Favorites that are put here for our pleasure. Take a look, only takes a few minutes.

  2. Max Foster

    “Senior leaders can anticipate the worst from the ill-informed, the immature, the resentful, and the power-hungry types. Today, these people are everywhere and are encouraged by the notoriety they get from attacking others.” This is an important paragraph and the key one to focus in on. I will also argue that it is not just the “ill-informed, the immature ….” who we should anticipate the worst from. There are plenty of evil folks out there who will attack just for the reason they gain pleasure from it. That is why so many of us, like me, say they are ‘evil.’ The devil never sleeps.

  3. ZB22

    Gen. Satterfield knows how to lay out a good case for a certain type of personality (or style of leadership) that is better than others. A thick skin goes a long way to ignoring the stupid antics of crazies. But, warning here, don’t be lax about it. There are many who criticize and that criticism is of tremendous value. We are all not perfect. I guess that is why you wrote that great leaders are also humble.

    1. Erleldech

      Hi ZB22, haven’t heard from you in a while. Thanks for the great comment. Gen. Satterfield got my thinking juices flowing today. But first, I’m having a great cup of coffee. Best way to start a morning.

  4. Goalie for Cal State

    I know that Prez Joe Biden is thin-skinned. He gets angry and lashes out when anyone pushes back on his “authority.” A disgrace for a president and we have to put up with his evil for another 3 years. Or maybe the worst of the worst Kamala Harris will take over. Now that is another evil in the wings.

      1. Goalie for Cal State

        Thank you guys for the support. I’m emotional, a bit, about the terrible things happening in America and I don’t have any problem saying so to anybody who will listen.

        1. Ronny Fisher

          We’re with you on this Goalie for Cal State. Thank you for standing up to evil.


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