5 Dangers of the “Complainer”

Can I tell you something about yourself?

You know a complainer.

The guy that, no matter what happens, no matter how good or bad a situation, he’s going to find a way to be upset about something. The girl that is constantly down on whatever you, or anyone else, does.

They’re good at tearing people down, discouraging an entire team, and slowing growth.

Here’s the reality: there is always something to complain about.

Life is often exceedingly difficult. Organizations are often in decline. Things seemingly couldn’t get worse.

If we’re honest with ourselves, “complainers” put words to the thoughts racing through our heads. But there’s a difference in having a thought and acting on it. A difference in having a thought and fleshing that out for everyone to join in with you. A difference in keeping a thought to yourself and recruiting others to moan with you. *

No matter where you are in life, you’ll find complainers.

  • At family gatherings.
  • At church.
  • At the water cooler at work.
  • At conferences.
  • On vacation.
  • On Facebook.
  • By text message
  • By email
  • By phone calls
  • By twitter updates.

Brothers don’t shake hands

Complainers need a hug. They need to be told that it’s going to be okay. They need to be reminded that God is in control, and that he’s a good, loving, kind God.

But they don’t need to be put in the role of director, no matter the size or structure of your organization. In fact, it’s incredibly dangerous for your organization if these people are put into director roles.

5 Dangers of a Complaining Team Member

1. They’ll drag the whole team down with them.

Before you know it, your organization will be full of doubting, complaining naysayers who see nothing but doom and gloom. Complainers are great recruiters.

2. They compromise your vision.

They ratchet up the negative aspect of the vision God’s placed in your heart, and if you’re not careful, you are pulled into the vortex of their negativity, and your once-clear vision becomes muddied.

3. They’ll not perform their job well.

They’ll be focused on the difficult parts of their job, and be distracted from the good, positive aspects.

4. They’ll not help your organization move forward.

Stuck on past failures and current challenges, they’ll not be challenged to press forward and find new, innovative solutions.

5. They’re never satisfied.

As soon as something goes their way, they’ve found another situation to complain about. They’re toxic even in the best of times. Nothing you can do will satiate their desire for more complaints. Everything you do fuels their fire.

Nip complaining in the bud. It’s a heart issue, reflective of a heart that doesn’t rest soundly in the goodness and power of God. And it’ll rot your team from the inside out.

Don’t let complainers be directors.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” – Philippians 2:14-15

* I’m not naive. I can be honest when personal, and organizational, change needs to happen. I’m not contending that you should mask all problems with a smile. I’m making the argument that constant complainers are toxic.

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Ben Reed
Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.

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