Am I a COVID-19 Grump or a Positive Leader?

Are you a pandemic grouch? Has anyone called you “Grumpy Pants”?

My wife, Karen — her name is Karen, but she’s not one of those Karens ? — and I are convinced one of the least-talked-about effects of the Coronavirus is people are out of sorts. You know …






Are you any of these?

Or have you been a … leader?

Leadership Defined

In the QBQ! book, we write leadership is not about title, position, or tenure. Rather, true leadership is the moment-to-moment disciplining of my thoughts. Leaders understand how they think today will affect their tomorrow.

If I’m a manager, I’m a leader. If I’m a parent, I’m a leader. If I’m a friend, I’m a leader. If I am a neighbor, sibling, or co-worker, then I am a … leader!

Leaders take captive every thought. They own and control them — especially the negative ones.

Coronavirus Crabbiness

When buying two unique vegetables at King Soopers (Kroger) grocery store—knowing many cashiers struggle to identify them—I asked the mask-wearing fella with weary eyes, “Do you know what those greens are?” 

In a not-customer-friendly sarcastic tone with a clear edge to it, he said, “Yes, I actually do” — and never spoke to me again.

I must’ve offended him by implying he’d be unfamiliar with curly endive and escarole — unusual veggies I buy for my African Uromastyx lizards. Virtually no cashiers prior to him have known what they are, so that’s why I asked.

When I finished paying, the stressed-up man slapped the paper receipt into my palm and abruptly turned and left his station with nary a word.

Must’ve been break time. ?

What I just described, I’ve witnessed in others during CV-19. I’ve also felt more than a little grumpiness in me.

COVID-19 Grouchiness

Arriving at Home Depot’s parking lot, I checked in online for curbside pick-up for two ceiling fans. After <impatiently> waiting in my Tacoma for 15 minutes, I made myself put on a mask and walk across the parking lot in 98-degree heat. Arriving at the customer service counter, I informed another masked human of my small dilemma — possible too tersely, which I am accountable. With no words spoken, she began typing on her keyboard. After a few moments, she turned, walked behind a wall, and returned with a cart containing my product. I left.

Terrible experience? Nope. Pleasant and positive? Nope — and I own that.

What’s Happening?

What is driving this Coronavirus “crotchety-ness”? Fear and uncertainty? Employment and money worries? The ever-changing government edicts? Social Media wars and mask-shaming? People working from home for the first time? Kids out of school since March? The current “will-schools-open-or-not” chaos? Far fewer entertainment options for kids and adults? Is life now just less … fun?

I suppose the answer is …”all of the above.” Agree?

Am I Leading?

Truth: I can only control how I think, feel, and act. So, if I’ve been acting like Oscar the Grouch, is today the day I speak lovingly, kindly, and patiently to the people I live, work, and do business with?

For accountable people, today is that day. I can choose to be a leader by disciplining my thinking. By taking captive my negative thoughts, I will be a better me.

Do you need to change your thoughts right now? Only you — and those around you — can answer that question.

Discussion Question:

Have I allowed negative thinking into my life during this pandemic or have I remained a positive leader?


6 Responses

  1. Keep encouraging right (& righteous, in the eyes of Christ) behavior in all of us.
    Thanks for your messages.

  2. I read your initial question at the top John and my most honest answer was YES, depending on what day it is LOL
    For the most part we have kept it positive but every once in a while….

    1. John,
      My roommate tells me I can stick my tongue out under my mask. I can also have a huge smile and give a friendly wave to other masked people. To those who aren’t masked or can not fully cover their nose and mouth, they get attitude under the confines of my mask.

      One day at a time….

  3. Hi John… I was somewhat surprised that you didn’t immediately say to the grocery store clerk something along the lines of « wow ! You’re the first person to know the names of those veggies since I started buying them x months ago. How is it that you know their names? »… that might have put a smile on his face and engaged him in a (short) conversation.

  4. We all need to get a grip
    And not let our attitude slip
    Knowing the way
    To ease someone’s day
    Assuming proper leadership

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