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?
Consider: The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.
Did you ever notice, no matter how hard you do the wrong thing, it never quite works?
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