Grant negative people love and grace but tell them the truth. Speak candidly and directly, and give them examples of their negative attitude. Ask them if they want to change. If yes, offer to help. (They have to see it, own their negativity, and want to change before you can be helpful.)
The purpose is not to get someone to agree with everything you say, but to help them mature and develop as a person. In this case, a more positive person.
2) Don’t leverage your position.
Avoid using the power and authority of your position to shut someone down.
Trust is never elevated by a power play.
When they go negative, and you go power, it’s just a different version of the same problem, an attempt to control. Control never solves the problem.
You lead most effectively by building bridges not by establishing moats. (Eventually, the most powerful person fills the moat with their own alligators and then all the progress is over, and probably the relationship too.)
The goal is to bring them with you in alignment with the vision and productive harmony with the team.
3) Help negative people see a different perspective.
This is the crucial turning point. Like the 12 spies sent into Canaan, two came out with a positive perspective, and 10 came out with a negative perspective, but they all saw the exact same view. They just saw it differently.
Your job as a leader is to help clarify reality according to the vision. It’s your responsibility to help each person see the issue, problem, new idea, vision, etc., differently so they can move forward, not get stuck in Egypt.
There is no need to sell or convince. Instead, inspire according to what you sincerely believe God is saying, and have agreement and alignment in from the larger team.
4) Always point to the bigger picture and greater good.
Negativity tends to make things smaller and vision makes them bigger. Lead with vision. Vision is always true north when dealing with a negative person. Ultimately, if they don’t buy into the vision, you will never lead them successfully. If you allow a negative person to pull you down into small rabbit trails that are disconnected from the vision, you will both remain frustrated.
The greater good means each of you must lay down personal wants, desires and preferences for the greater good of the church. Again, this is accomplished through vision alignment.
5) Don’t hesitate to move on if they will not respond.
Is there ever a time when as the leader you draw a line, and the conversations are over? Yes, of course. But these should be rare.
You will occasionally encounter an individual who just can’t find anything good or positive and wants their way. If you have invested time, energy and genuine care, and the situation is just not working, it’s time to move the investment of your time to more productive efforts.
Do everything possible to preserve the relationship itself. However, if they serve in a ministry and are making everything around them toxic, you may need to ask them to step out of serving for a season. That’s not the long-term goal, but you can never allow someone’s negativity to take your leadership and the vision of the church hostage.
This article originally appeared here.