Even Whiners Can Lead

cry baby

Image source by George Hodan

Whiners are potential leaders. But, pessimists can’t lead.

Leader as whiner:

  1. Progress could be faster.
  2. Quality could be better.
  3. Team mates could give more.
  4. Organizations aren’t meeting needs.
  5. Structures block rather than energize success.

The line between whiner and leader is optimism.

Whiners become leaders when they press through problem finding to problem solving.

The real anchor:

It’s easier for whiners to blame than take responsibility.

Whiners are blamers.
Blamers can’t lead.

The next time you hear yourself whining, take responsibility. Stop complaining about what others aren’t doing. Do something yourself.

Whining identifies potential improvements.

From whining to leading:

  1. Talk less. Whiners talk too much and do too little. Talking apart from action centers on problems. Talking during action focuses on solutions. “How can we fix this” is better than “Here’s why it can’t be done.”
  2. Solve what you can. Postpone the rest. A whiner who can’t postpone or prioritize is an overwhelmed whiner. Everything’s bad.
  3. Feeling powerless is a self-imposed myth. You can always do something. (See: Gifts From an Empty Cup”)
  4. Plan for the worst. Contingency plans are a pessimist’s gift.
  5. Consistently ask, “What’s next?”
  6. Move from “What if?” to “We could.”
  7. Listen to optimists. Don’t reject optimists because you believe they don’t see the whole picture. You don’t either.
  8. Admit shooting things down isn’t a virtue.
  9. Substitute lifting up for drag down. Your negativity makes others negative. Welcome to the dark work environment you created. Ask yourself, “How am I making others feel?”
  10. Ask, “Where does whining take me?” When it’s a good place, go with it.

Great leaders whine with optimism.

Leaders do more than point out wrongs. They step toward remedies.

I’m a huge fan of whiners who work toward solutions. Beware of whiners who don’t find solutions. They’re destructive anchors.

What suggestions can you offer leaders who tend to whine?