Negative people in the workplace zap energy and productivity.expert Dan Rockwell offers these tips for dealing with three very specific types of negative people:
Persistent dark clouds. No matter what, they look at the dark side and find something negative about everything.
Strategy: Be kind and polite, but don’t waste your time trying to make them more positive. Instead, continue to be positive and enthusiastic, despite them. Allow them to share, but don’t dwell on the comments. If you give them too much power, they will continue to fight every decision or idea.
Fearful dark clouds. They resist because they worry about failure or how change will affect them. They push back because they don’t want to let go of what’s familiar.
Strategy: Focus on answering their questions and quelling their concerns, but don’t let them overtake discussions by focusing too much on worst-case scenarios. Stay focused on how you can overcome obstacles and make ideas work.
Doer dark clouds. They are people who execute, but they need to see a clear path to success before they will move forward. They often consider themselves “realists” or “devil’s advocates,” but their focus on potential negative outcomes kills the enthusiasm of the rest of the group.
Strategy: Listen to what they have to say, and ask for their ideas for moving forward successfully. Understand why they are reluctant, and work to ease their concerns. Once you gain their commitment, they will work hard to see an idea through.
Bottom line: For all three, require their full commitment on ideas or decisions and demand progress. If they continue to resist, it’s time to consider whether they should have a place on your team.
— Adapted from “How Much Time Should I Spend Convincing Naysayers,” Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak, https://leadershipfreak.blog.