Have you ever worked with someone whose most frequent, ready answer was "no"? Here are some guidelines on how to turn negative workers into positive assets:
The controller. Loosen up people who seek to limit options, shoot down new ideas and keep items off the agenda. Reduce the risk of failure through thoughtful planning, and by dividing projects into steps that offer incremental success. Then celebrate those successes.
The expert. Retrain people who know a hundred reasons why a plan won't work or a job can't be done. Start by asking them to be very specific in their criticisms. Then ask for their help in resolving those problems so the proposed plan is even stronger.
The back-stabber. Establish a zero-tolerance policy. As soon as you recognize that team members simply want to highlight others' weaknesses or mistakes, refuse to listen any further. Don't reward them by acting on their information.
The loose cannon. Harness unwilling cooperators by making it impossible for them to succeed any other way. Give them assignments that are too big to handle alone, or responsibilities that require close coordination with others.
The victim. Ignore their claims of tragedy and concentrate on opportunities for achievement. Give victims training, challenges and exciting opportunities. A few successes can change their attitude—or at least give you a response the next time they try to get you to feel sorry for them.
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