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Using Negativity to my Advantage

You know the whole “glass half full vs. glass half empty”  debate?  Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle with my personality type.  I’m one more prone to ask who drank half my glass of water.

Well in leadership it’s important that we be positive people, looking for the good in others and affirming their steps towards improvement.  However, there is a time to be negative.  There is a time to shine the light in dark places.  There is a time and place to be critical.  If we guard against becoming critical in all our interactions, we can actually use Negativity to our advantage.

How Negativity Can Help a Leader

  • The things that bother you, probably bother others as well.  That sign that is always crooked and covered with fingerprints?  If it bugs you, I can guarantee you that it bugs someone else.
  • If you aren’t finding negative things in what you do at times, then you’re not doing it right.  We all make mistakes.  We all do things wrong.  We all have room for improvement.  If you evaluate yourself and can find nothing worth improving…there is something wrong with you!
  • Negativity helps you to answer the question, “What is the worst that can happen?”  I believe we should be able to answer this question at all times.  Have you thought out the worst-case scenario?  Have you planned for a quick recovery if things don’t go your way?
  • Critical eyes bring improvement.  While we are careful to not let our criticism become a nag to those we lead, we also want our criticism to bring about real change.  Let yourself see things for how they really are.

Proverbs 27:5-6  ESV /  Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.