Stop Hating the People You Serve

It has been too long since I have posted here. My muse has been in absentia, I’m afraid.
Dan Rockwell is a prolific blogger with wonderful insights. This post resonated with me in several contexts, based on some of the hats I wear. It reminded me of the proper attitude I should have toward my students, even the struggling, challenging ones. As a member of my church’s high council, we are increasing our emphasis on ministering and service. This made Dan’s insights doubly important to me, so I am reposting his post.
You may read the original post here.


Leaders get frustrated with the people they serve. You hear them grumble, “What’s wrong with people?” It happens in the business world, education, church world, and governments as well.

Dissatisfaction – apart from loving action – eventually morphs into hate.

10 symptoms of hateful leadership:

  1. Minimizing or ignoring your impact on others.
  2. Peevishness that won’t let go of small issues, faults, or offenses.
  3. Withholding help when you’re able to make work easier for others.
  4. Criticism that points to wrong without working to make something right.
  5. Complaining that camps in the past.
  6. Dispassion for the interest of others.  Self-interest apart from other-interest is hateful.
  7. Comparative bragging.
  8. Unwillingness to adapt to others. You’re a hater if everyone adapts to you.
  9. Smugness when colleagues struggle, fail, or lose reputation.
  10. Temper outbursts and irritability. An irritable leader is a hateful leader.

You might be thinking you don’t hate. You DISLIKE.

Haters protect themselves by defining hate in terms of others. The hateful leadership list is my take on the opposite of love. I thought about love and wrote about the opposite.

Maybe you prefer to use UNLOVING instead of hate. Does that sting less?

7 ways to move toward loving leadership:

  1. Stop trying to control people. Focus on things within your control. Let go of everything else. Helplessness turns to hate.
  2. Expect to pour into others.
  3. Acknowledge that people ARE frail. Hate grows when you forget frailties, both your own and others’.
  4. Show up to serve for the joy of serving.
  5. Determine to spend most of your think-time focused on strengths, talent, opportunities, and the future. If you think focusing on failure and problems will take you where you want to go, you’re a hater.
  6. Celebrate imperfect progress. You’re a hater if nothing is ever good enough.
  7. Every morning start fresh with people, but don’t expect them to perform out of weakness.

What does leadership that seeks the best interest of others look like?


Dan’s question begs careful consideration. You will have to answer this for yourself. I will have to answer this for myself.

Lead faithfully!

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A Culture of Negativity?

What kind of culture do you intend to create as a leader? This is a pivotal question, not just for the new leader, but for all leaders to ponder. As a part of the strategizing process, it is a question that should be carefully considered.

Do you just want to let nature take its course? It’s your call.

Do you want to create a culture of collaboration and friendly competition? Great!

Do you want to ramp it up beyond that? Fine.

It is up to you to determine the course. If you do not, it could easily go in the wrong direction.

Can you accurately describe to your team why this is important to them? And to you?

What will you do to nurture that kind of culture?

Will your attitudes and actions not just reflect but model your plans?

The pilot who files a flight plan does not simply fly from point A to point B. Frequent course corrections are required to compensate for wind, weather and natural obstacles. In a large plane, a copilot and frequently a navigator assist in these corrections.

In the same way, a good leader must also consistently make course corrections with his team.

How will you make these corrections?

Do you want a culture of negativity in your organization?

Look to the pilot and his team as they navigate along their flight path.

Except in notably rare occasions, they function well as a team in keeping the plane on course. The co-pilot points out potential obstacles or weather formations that should be avoided. They assist each other in making decisions to keep on course. When the plane drifts off course, as it will, they do not berate each other; they simply identify and execute the needed corrections and get back on the intended course.

In a culture of negativity, the focus changes. The vision of the destination becomes obscured as everyone looks at what was done instead of what will be done. It is impossible to stay on course while focusing on where you’ve been.

Negativity always impedes forward progress.

Leaders, are you encouraging a negative or a positive culture?

Is a course correction needed to get you to your intended destination?

You are the pilot; take the stick.