Dealing with the Downers, Dissenters & Dissatisfied —  February 23, 2015

Leaders want to take everyone with them to the next level. They want to inspire people to go beyond what is now. Since most of us want to be liked, we have a hard time processing resistance. We believe that reasonable people will see the light in the plan we are proposing and enthusiastically support it.

That is hardly ever the case. People are…human. Flawed, imperfect. Just like you! In every organization you will find the supporters, go-getters and on-boarders as well as the downers, dissenters and dissatisfied.

If you spend your time trying to get the last three on board, your train will never leave the station.

Here are three principles to remember when you deal with those three D’s:

  1. Its ok not to take everyone.

Some can’t go. You can’t require gallon size production from pint sized people.

Some won’t go. They have seen the future and they enthusiastically wish to stay where they are.

Some shouldn’t go. If they did, they would only mess it up for the others.

Leaders recognize the three types and deal with them accordingly. Do me a favor. Repeat to yourself at least three times every day: It’s ok not to take everyone.

The pain of losing the three D’s is always less than the pain they will produce if they come with you. What I am trying to tell you is that it will be painful either way.

You choose.

  1. Ask yourself the hard questions.

Your must deal in reality, not make believe. That process starts with asking yourself hard, honest questions. John Maxwell invites leaders to ask themselves the following hard ones:

How much of my energy will I let them take? How much of my time will I let them take? How much of my focus will I let them take? How much of my joy will I let them take? How much of the resources will I let them take? Maxwell, John C. (2014-10-07). Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership

  1. Not your job description.

Don’t you think God has been trying to change those D’s before you even knew them? He hasn’t succeeded yet. What makes you think you can do a better job? When people show you who they are, BELIEVE THEM! If they could have changed, they would have by now. Don’t stop loving them, but understand that maybe it won’t be you leading them.


What are your thoughts? What do you do about downers, dissenters and dissatisfied? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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4 responses to Dealing with the Downers, Dissenters & Dissatisfied

  1. I love this, because is link with a Disciplship process in which you have to be very careful, wise, who you choose to Disciple. Is not for everybody. Let’s go to the future with less distractions as possible!

  2. I learned this a few years ago in the GCC Missional Pastor’s program and its helped me avoid stress and understand that we are a body with many parts and different functions. I like what you said that if they could have changed they would have by now. In some cases people do see and get it. I say that because I used to be one of these 3 Ds. I thought everyone had to be on the same page (my page, lol) and if not I let everyone know.

    Thanks for the article


  3. Thank you so much. I have recently moved and want to what I have learned with my new congregation… they are not all enthusiastic and willing to listen. It is good advice for me.. not to let them discourage me from trying…. Barbara

  4. Nailed it! That totally spoke to me as we’ve recently lost a family from the forward movement in my church. It’s hard to not take them along, but I’m glad to know that it’s ok that they don’t come with me! Thank you for that!.