Negative Growth

"People inspire you or drain you, pick them wisely."

Hans F. Hanson

  Many of you are not going to like this post.... don't say I did not warn you.   I don't agree with the above quote. There are so many books, quotes, etc on how to shed negative people out of your life. I just don't see this as a totally true statement and indeed it is hinders the development of self, of leaders, of teams, etc. Leaders do not get this choice, because in truth to build a good team, success, and a path forward you have to be able to work with all types of people. In addition, this kind of thinking is a direct slap in the face to diversity. If this is what we were meant to do, cutoff people or out of our lives, we would have been put in pods separate from each other. If you are in a role where you have to work with or though others you rarely get this choice to cut negative people out of your way. What I have found, both personally and with the people that I coach, is "negative" situations are consistently put in our path for growth. The truth is you have to learn how to navigate it in a way that is authentic and true for you, or it keeps coming into your world. This is more the true statement, that once fully embraced, creates a gateway to continual success:

"You can't change others,

you can change yourself,

when you change yourself you change the world."

 Related: 7 Steps to Effective Leadership

Here are the core skills necessary to work with and through negative people:

  • Listen to their feedback
  • Understand their perspective
  • Repeat back what you heard
  • Thank them for their perspective
  • Move forward

There is no rule that says you have to incorporate their idea, take their advice, etc. The rule is to treat each human being with dignity whether they treat you that way or not. The better you get at this the easier it is navigate and grow from negative people. I am confident some of you are saying this @*%#* and how would I deal with a certain situation in your mind. Not to pitch my executive coaching service, and here I would have to do that to take this conversation to the next level. That is not the intent of this post. The intent is to have you begin to tackle the negative situations in your environment and transform them through effective listening, questioning, and understanding. If you would like to explore this more I highly recommend the work of Marshall Rosenberg's book Non Violent Communication and Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson and friends.


Embrace Negative Growth,



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