Tips for Learning to Love the Naysayers at Work

Gulliver's Travels was a cartoon that featured a character named Glum. Glum was always unhappy and enjoyed complaining. He was always grumpy and seldom had anything positive to say.

"It'll never work."

"Turn back, we'll never make it."

"It's hopeless."

"I told you it'll never work."

"We're doomed."

Every organization has (at least) one Glum.

You know who I mean -- you may even be thinking of someone right now! -- the person who finds holes in every idea and a reason to keep every project from taking off. 

Naysayers come in all shapes and sizes. Some simply delight in putting down any idea that didn’t come from them, but many nay-saying people want things to be just right before proceeding--they may even be perfectionists!

Here’s a little-known secret about this type: You can befriend and collaborate effectively with them. 

How? By looking at their tendencies as an asset, not a flaw! Ask the department naysayer to review your proposal or project so that they "poke holes in the argument" or point out anything you may have missed--you'll gain valuable insight into any deficiencies or issues with what's been planned.

Then (and this is the hard part): receive their feedback and incorporate their ideas. 

If you want your ideas and visions realized --no matter how big or small they may be--then success will depend on developing relationships with those who have different perspectives from us.

Get out and explore different areas, talk to different people, and see what you can find! You never know what sort of knowledge is hiding in the nooks and crannies of your workplace.

You need to learn from different areas: tech, sales, marketing, product development, finance, human resources, client services, operations, and distribution. 

By breaking out of your silo and developing good working relationships with people from across your company, you will expand your network of information and resources. By working together, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge and resources that are otherwise hidden from your view. An organization's success is often due to the ability to get creative with different perspectives on how to execute better.

And it all starts by seeking out your naysayers.

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