7 surefire methods for managing pessimists
Some people are innately negative. They are quick to shoot down others’ ideas, rip apart plans and pinpoint every little thing that could go wrong. You won’t hear them talking about the positives of an assignment or find them pointing out the good in another person’s ideas or work.
Other people are negative because of their circumstances. Whether they’re having personal problems or they’re angry over recent changes at work, they can’t move past their bad moods to work in a professional and positive manner. They allow their emotions to dictate their attitudes.
Both types are draining. It’s tiresome to feel as if you’re constantly going to battle with someone, always expecting to hear criticism and forever trying to defend your ideas and work. That kind of combat slows progress, and as co-workers opt to avoid negative types, it hurts collaboration. Plus, one person’s negativity can spread to others and destroy morale.
Follow these seven strategies to address negativity effectively:
- Anticipate the negative comments and concerns, and prepare responses. Rather than saying “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” tackle negative teammates’ concerns now.
- Look for merit in naysayers’ points. They can spot pitfalls or weakness, so consider one or two of their points, and move on. Don’t get caught up in discussing a long list of problems they anticipate.
- Show them respect. Avoid sarcasm as you acknowledge their points. Don’t roll your eyes or sigh with exasperation, and demand the same from your other employees. Even the most taxing employees deserve for you to listen to them.
- Ask for positive suggestions. Say: “You’ve given us a number of reasons for not using the plan. Now I’d like to hear you present a couple of advantages.”
- Hold them accountable for finding solutions. Tell them: “That’s an interesting point. I’d like you to research that and come to me with a recommendation by Friday.”
- Show appreciation when they support a plan. Example: “I know you took a leap of faith when you endorsed the plan. Thank you; it’s already paying off.”
- Don’t let negativity rub off on you. When you find yourself doubting everything, spend time with more positive people.
Negativity and other bad behaviors can be toxic in the workplace, but with the Detox Your Workplace! training kit, you can address negative behavior before it destroys your team. Even if you feel your team is healthy, you can use the advice presented in this training kit to recognize warning signs and flush out toxic behaviors—before they contaminate your team.
This multimedia resource includes:
- The 19-minute video The Cure for Toxic-Boss Syndrome: Avoid the Blunders That Disrupt Teams, with a companion Trainer’s Guide and Viewer’s Guide.
- The 60-minute audio conference presentation Conflict Resolution—Dealing With Really Difficult People.
- A 64-page workbook stuffed full of best practices, guides, tips, quizzes and more.
- A Customizable, Print-Ready Forms CD trainers and trainees can reference again and again.