It's a myth that only poor leadership will incite criticism. The truth is all leadership, whether good or bad, will result in some level of criticism. Because no leader is perfect, every leader will be criticized. It simply comes with the territory. And even for the one leader who was perfect (i.e. Jesus), He too endured criticism, though unjustly.
Given this simple truth, it's in the best interest of the leader to waist no time bemoaning, avoiding, or trying to mitigate criticism. So the best thing a leader can do is learn how to handle it.
I recently came across an excellent sermon preached by Pastor Freddy Russell at the Atlanta Berean SDA Church in which he dealt with how to handle critics. In this sermon he gave 5 practical steps on how to handle criticism that is worth sharing.
Take a moment to reflect on what has been said. Objectively weigh the criticism, making sure it is constructive and accurate.
Your natural instinct may be to tune the person out, growing defensive and/or annoyed. This urge is counterproductive and must be resisted. Take time to understand clearly the feedback you're receiving. There may be some value in it.
There are many people who just like to criticize, and it will only take a few experiences with these individuals for a leader to identify them. Because of this you cannot take criticism personally. Many criticize out of their own insecurity. Thus when you're hearing criticism, you must remain objective.
Once you listen to it, let it go! Don't carry it with you. Listen to it, weight it, learn from it, and then LET IT GO! Don't take it into your next meeting. Don't take it home. And do not take it to bed with you!
Understand that every great leader has experienced criticism. Don't let it rattle you, and know that handling it appropriately is the most important thing you can do.