One of the things many of our clients struggle with is how to get the most out of the negative people in their lives. Those people who are quick to see what’s wrong, or to resist a new idea, or who focus on all the potential “disastrous” consequences of a decision.
Almost all of us have one or two in our lives and they can make moving an initiative forward challenging, unless you have the ability to tap into the gifts of their perspective vs. feeling endlessly beaten up by it.
So, what can you do?
- Embrace this person as someone who’s trying to add value.
We know, we know… They can make you feel frustrated and crazy at times but, for the most part, their negativity is not malicious; rather, it’s a way of seeing the world.
- Use the question formula we’ve taught in the past asking everyone to consider:
- What are the benefits of this approach?
- What concerns do you have about this approach?
- What suggestions do you have as we consider this decision?
- Let them know you value their perspective as one of a number of perspectives on the decision.
In a team you might start to use them as a devil’s advocate to explore the down side to a particular decision or idea. In your family you may do the same. Often, when you start to genuinely consider their thinking, they will soften and become more a part of the solution.
It can be challenging to control your reactivity in the face of someone who demonstrates negativity at every turn, but you’ll always have greater success when you interrupt your own reactivity and respond as a leader… in your work and in your world.
This week, use this process when bringing others in on a decision and let us know the changes in behavior and input that you discover!
Your coaches and allies,
Carpenter Smith Consulting
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