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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The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

In the seemingly endless Presidential campaign in the U.S., we are surrounded by chronic complainers. Countless friends complain about the choices (or the lack thereof) available to us. Venom and bile are flowing thick and fast. People become hateful and more and more angry.

But the one constant I have noted, regardless of party affiliation, is that among all the complainers, no one is offering any solutions. The ceaseless yammering is not accomplishing anything, except for fomenting more anger.

Not a very productive activity.

Do you know a chronic complainer? Do you have to work with one? Are you responsible for one?

No one likes being around complainers; we all become uncomfortable when we have to listen to too many complaints. 

How you deal with this as a leader? Dan Rockwell shared some ideas.

This is a repost of his blog post on Leadership Freak.


The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

The “make it go away” fairy doesn’t exist. Ignored complaints fester.

Uncover the real dissatisfaction before solving complaints.

chronic complainers want to look caring and innocent while talking mean and ugly

The 4 hidden agendas concealed in complaints:

  1. “You should have ….” You caused the problem because you dropped the ball.
  2. “What are you going to do about this?” Whiners want – no expect – you to make it better.
  3. “I’m not happy.” Chronic complainers don’t own the real issue. They want something for themselves.
  4. “I want to look good while I talk bad.” Complainers use compassion as camouflage. They’re complaining because they “care”.

Establish the intent of complaint conversations:

  • What outcome would you like from this conversation? Don’t have conversations when intentions are undeclared, obscure, or unknown. If they don’t know what they want, have them come back when they do.
  • Are you looking for a solution or time to vent? (Ask this when you know and trust each other.) Some issues are solved with an ear.

Second venting sessions are complaints. It’s time to design solutions.

Explore the hidden agenda:

#1. If we could go back…

  • What should have happened to prevent this problem?
  • What could you have done to prevent this problem?
  • What could I have done to prevent this problem?

#2. What would you like me to do about this? Asking doesn’t mean you’re going to do it. It’s the beginning of a conversation about real solutions.

An alternative: What would you like me to do for you?

#3. What needs to happen for you to feel good, when our conversation is over in twenty minutes?

#4. If you don’t mind me asking, “What makes you care about this?” Explore assumptions and values.

Nagging issues intensify with time.

What hidden agendas might complainers have?

How might leaders deal with underlying issues?


The original post may be viewed here.