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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Whine Connoisseur

You know them – always the glass half empty outlook...complaining about the brightness when the sun breaks through the dismal gray February days.

They derail conversations and meetings. When making a contribution, it comes with negative overtones and is diluted by the complaint of the day. They are disruptive to creative sessions and are toxic to an organization over time.

I met a person in transition recently, who said they resigned to take advantage a sweet deal in bonuses and pension supplements. The conversation went on about how unfair it was to be cut loose after 18 years, into a horrible economy, at this time of year, without some rehab training, and with experience that is stale and limited. Next was a question if I could recommend some employment prospects (couldn't think of any).

Make no mistake, these folks are not seeking help to resolve a problem – they revel in their gloom. It is a mistake to take time to try to understand their issue and problem-solve for solutions or alternatives. Waste of time. Waste of effort. Not appreciated or heeded.

When speaking with a whine connoisseur, it is useful to be like a 4-year old child and continue to ask 'Why?' repeatedly – the individual will drift off to rain on another parade fairly soon.

As a leader, you will have these folks in your organization – make use of their skills and contributions, while mitigating their negative impact. Avoid putting them in key results process roles; on project teams or committees, balance them with strong can-do positive personality.

Our staff and managers are a diverse collect of talent and personality – sometimes it take some creativity to make the best use of them. It is worth the effort.

Do you have suggestions for mining the positives from the whine connoisseurs?

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Thoughthebrowser said...

Best shield to whine experts, "What was the best thing you learned?" negates the bad stuff they've been practicing.

Unknown said...


Great suggestion - it either makes them concentrate on the positive or they clam up.

Thanks for adding to the discussion.

thomasadair said...

How would you place a person, that keeps asking for a refill?