An interesting observation by author Tess Gerritsen is asking others to defend you from criticism can come across as "whiny and desperate" in addition to revealing how vulnerable you are. Comment in reference to author Patricia Cornwell asking supporters to come to her defense on Amazon.com, and grief she took for it. Tess decides not to react or ask for help against her own critics - even if really wants to.
Example she gives is her pet donkeys who end up with porcupine quills because they decide to attack their attacker. Comments to her blog post include these quotes: "Never get in a pissing contest with a skunk"; and "Never wrestle with a pig; you'll just get dirty and the pig will love it."
It's really difficult to walk away from criticism, not respond or expect others to come to defense. Maybe no response is the best response? When I don't respond seems assumption is must not have received - and get it forwarded again a day later. Sometimes a response to criticism just generates another (or endless) round of the same; but can bring new clarity (I think). Sometimes I respond "really appreciate you took the time to tell us what makes you unhappy" with no comment on comment itself. Hmm ... will have to think about this.
As association executives, do we have responsibility to always respond to member criticism? Is it okay (or mistake) to ignore if personal criticism vs. association decision/program criticism?