Seek Out the Negative but Listen for the Positive

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Have you ever worked with someone who seemed to have a negative viewpoint about everything? Of course you have, we all have.

They find negative in everything. They don’t see the glass half empty — they assume it is filled with poison.

So how do we gather value from a person who seems bound and determined to undermine even the most positive initiative.

First we need to override the natural tendency to filter out and ignore everything they say to prevent being dragged down by their negative attitude.

Then we create a modified filter that allows us to sort their comments. Even the most negative person often has some basis for their negativity and if we simply discount everything they say we might miss some important and valuable insights.

By learning to filter and sort their comments we avoid the negativity but still remain open to the nuggets that are worthwhile.

My Perspective: If everyone in your team is positive then you need to make sure someone takes the opposing viewpoint to avoid the pitfall of “group think” and make sure all ideas are challenged and bullet proofed.

This may be someone you designate to play this important role of devils advocate or it may simply be that you already have a negative thinker in your team. Let them play that role and then as you utilize their input to improve — you might even see a genuine change in their overall attitude.

Strong leaders find value in even the worst performer and coach that person into even greater capacity for contribution.

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