Act Without Murmuring or Arguing

Watch out for small groups of people in the organization who gather to criticize, back bite, and argue. Have you noticed this phenomenon? Worse, have you ever been in one of those groups? Or been a leader in gathering them?

I am by nature an analyzer (ENTP). I have to be very careful and aware of whom I talking with as to whether I’m merely analyzing or “murmuring” or arguing. Occasionally someone has accused me of cynicism. But that stance ascribes motivations to others. I try to just describe actions and probe reasons. I don’t automatically think people are duplicitous.

Paul offers an antidote to this attitude that can be so hurtful to people and organizations. Writing to the Philippians (2:14), he says, “Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.”

Nothing beats negativity or (non-clinical) depression like action. One of the key Spiritual Disciplines is service. When you’re out serving others, doing for Jesus, you don’t have time for complaining and murmuring.

A good leader will organize such that there is a bias toward action. Don’t give people time to gather and complain. Get the teams moving in a positive direction.

Several years ago, there was a company I knew that had pathetic leadership. I’m being kind. Employees had all kinds of time to go online and comment on Websites. The negativity, hate, complaining, finger-pointing was terrible. People in other companies wondered how they had all that time. Part of the problem of the leadership was that they weren’t focused on pushing ahead and getting commitment of people.

It is often our fault, though. In the end, we are responsible for ourselves. We need to have some self-awareness of when we are slipping. When we sense this negativity happening, it’s time to look for a service project. Get busy. Get focused. Get positive.

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