Leaders, Please Stop Complaining

By | May 14, 2017

[May 14, 2017]  Leaders lead by example; by being the best person for the job and showing others how to act, talk, and even how to think.  But as of late, we’ve all been witness to senior political leaders not following this proven way of good leadership when they complain about people and things ‘preventing’ them from doing their jobs effectively.  Please, leaders, stop complaining!

Most of us learned as a young child that crying and whining never got us very far.  Our mothers taught us that there were easier, more effective means of getting our point across to others.  For example, giving a good reason why I wanted something (using good grammar and doing so politely) was mandatory at my house.  I got a sharp rebuke if I whined.  I imagine that is the way most homes are run, else there would be chaos.

The only thing complaining does is convince other people that you are not in control.” – Unknown

I had it pounded into my skull by an army Drill Sergeant that complaining is not a strategy.  The way to win battles is not to stand on the sidelines whining and complaining, but to jump in with both feet and fight, he told this to us peon Army Privates before we left for more advanced training.  My close friends from southern Louisiana were not too keen on being told what to do but they listened intently during out last meeting with combat veteran, Drill Sergeant Bill Murray (assistant to “Mad Dog” Johnson).

Sergeant Murray had been in the worst of the fighting in Vietnam at Hill 937 in May of 1969.  Part of the 3/187th Infantry, his unit attacked the hill to clear it of North Vietnamese Army soldiers but things didn’t go according to plan.  The fight was atypically violent and initially used primarily infantry units instead of combined arms teams (like artillery, engineers, close air support, etc.).  Casualties were high.  Today the battle is known as “Hamburger Hill” for rather obvious reasons.

Murray was a simple man; he never complained about anything but his intensity could not be understated.  When he entered a room, everybody knew it.  We learned from him the way to be real men and true soldiers.  We were scared but respected him for his bravery in the face of almost certain death.  This was a man to be listened to.  Someone once asked him if he had any complaints about the Army.  His answer, “If the army wanted me to complain, they wouldn’t have issued me a rifle.”

Good leadership means making things happen.  Sergeant Murray made them happen.  He never complained.  He never whined.  He said that complainers and whiners were men who never grew up; later suggesting that they could join his military outfit so he could teach them about manhood.  I remember him whenever I think of complaining.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.