Why ‘Remove Negative People From Your Life’ Is Terrible Advice For Leaders

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The world may tell you to remove negative people from your life. But if you strive to be a high-impact leader, your goal should be just the opposite.

You should be seeking out negative people, and placing yourself directly, and intentionally, in their midst.

High-impact leadership requires nothing less of you. High-impact leadership is built on the understanding that your greatest contribution in leadership is to shine your light where it is needed most.

High-impact leadership knows nothing of the all-too common mantra that says you should eradicate negative people from your life. Instead, high-impact leadership seeks to shine its light of positivity and inspiration exactly where it is most needed.

A Dangerous Trend

The world today scoffs at such a notion. Instead, it advocates cocooning yourself as far away as possible from any vestige of negativity.

Google the phrase, “Remove negative people” and you will find 822 million hits, much of which is loaded with articles with such titles as,

  • “6 Ways To Deal With & Remove Negative People In Your Life”

  • “Removing Toxic People From Your Life in 9 Steps”

  • “How to Get Rid of Negative People In Your Life (With Pictures)”

  • “5 Reasons You Need To Get Rid Of All Your Negative Friends”

A Better Way…

Admittedly, my perspective is heavily influenced by my faith. As a person of faith, I follow the teachings of Jesus, who taught his followers, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 4: 14-15)

Jesus was saying that the reason you have been given a light is to shine it for all to see; to find the darkest places, those negative people and places most in need of the luminescence you can provide.

What a contrast to so much of what we hear today, where we are told to “get rid of negative people”. This line of thinking tells us to surround ourselves only with other lights.

What a sad waste of a light that would be.

As a leader, your greatest gift may be in your ability to shine your positive example in the very places it is most needed.

So keep your light illuminated.

And shine brightly.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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