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5 Positive Insights to Help You Lead Negative People

Negative People

We are called to love and lead everyone who is part of the church even negative people.

But some who attend your church are easier to lead than others. Right?

Those who love the vision, are positive and want what’s best for the big picture are easier to lead. That doesn’t mean there are no disagreements along the way, that’s natural, but vision overrides opinion and progress wins the day.

In contrast, some of the most difficult  to lead are those who are negative people.

They focus on problems but not solutions, consistently resist change, and question everything. Questions are good, but their questions are critical, not constructive. And their cup is half empty no matter how much you pour in.

Even though they are negative, we must genuinely love each one, and leading a negative person requires maturity and experience. Without this experience, they can wear you out and discourage you.

I was recently talking with someone new to the church and asked them why they left their previous church. They launched into an exhaustive list of all that’s “wrong” with their former church and how ineffective the leadership is, and I had to cut them off. I became concerned that they may not be happy here either. Yet, they are welcome. So, how to lead someone like that is an important skill.

That person may represent an extreme case, but the insights and principles are the same.

The encouraging thing is that like positivity, negativity is a choice. That means a negative person is not destined to remain negative because of their personality, wiring, DNA or upbringing.

One of the most significant resources you have as a spiritual leader is the power of the Holy Spirit to help a person change from negative to positive. If they’re genuinely stuck, meaning they want to change but are having trouble becoming more positive, there is much hope. The wonderful news is that they have access to the same power.

The following insights will be helpful to you as you lead those who have or lean toward a negative disposition.

5 positive insights to help you lead negative people:

1) Treat them with kindness.

Sometimes negative people can get on your nerves. You’re trying to move the vision forward, and they seem to want to shut things down and drag you into long and unproductive conversations. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes they want to move forward but don’t see that they’re negative.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.