Is Having Pessimistic Staff Actually A GOOD Thing?

Half Full Or Half EmptyIf you manage a “glass half empty” person, you likely have faced some challenges.

Most offices have that individual that comes into work in the morning angry at the world, and leaves even angrier.

They are not happy with their workload, irritated at being assigned tasks and complain about the benefits.

However, can there be an upside to having a pessimist on your team?

The book Step Up-Lead in Six Moments That Matter by Henry Evans and Colm Foster claims that there can be.

Pessimists Can Bring Up Risks Or Challengers

Pessimists tend to see the negative side of things, but this can actually be a positive factor in a workplace.

These individuals can foresee possible risks, challenges or problems that optimists, or other employees eager to get a project off the ground, will overlook.

When those that look on the brighter side of things may believe that everything will always work out, they can ignore small issues that should be brought up for concern.

However, bosses can always count on the naysayers to point out these issues, which may protect the company from costly lawsuits, product returns and a blow to the brand’s reputation.

Pessimists Offer Diverse Points Of View

While the employees who want to please the boss always say “yes,” and encourage their every idea, the pessimist is more likely to say “no” rather than “yes.”

This opens up the floor to discuss and consider other points of view, rather than just listen to your staff support your every decision.

A pessimist is likely to question the purpose of a project, the projected timeline or the associated budget – all because they won’t think there’s enough time to get something done or enough resources allocated.

Although it may be difficult for a manager to hear “no,” it is important to stop and consider if the naysayer may actually have a point to their concerns.

Pessimists Are More Careful About Their Work

Pessimists in the  Happiness/Optimism Test offered by Arch Profile were “more likely to seek advice from others when they were unsure about a decision, and were also more likely to check over their work for mistakes,” as reported in this article.

While those that have a more positive outlook may assume that their way is the right way, those that are more pessimistic may be more realistic about their shortcomings.

They will check their work because they likely assume that they have made a mistake, which will lead to better productivity for the office.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 28 March, 2017

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