Coping with difficult people: Part 5 The negativist

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Negativists are the type of people who responds to any proposal with an explanation like, “It won’t work.” Negativists have a deep-seated conviction that any task not in their own hands will fail. Their negativism is stimulated by others’ attempts to solve a problem or improve a procedure. Because they believe that others in power don’t care or are self-serving, their negative statements are made with conviction.


COPING WITH NEGATIVISTS


• Be alert to the potential, in yourself and others in your group, for being dragged down into despair.
• Make optimistic but realistic statements about past successes in solving similar problems.
• Don’t try to argue Negativists out of their pessimism.
• Do not offer solution alternatives yourself until the problem has been thoroughly discussed.
• When an alternative solution is being seriously considered, quickly raise the question of adverse events that might occur if the alternative were implemented.
• See the doomsaying of the Negativist in perspective as potential problems to be overcome.
• At length, be ready to act on your own. Announce your plans to do this without equivocation.
• Beware of eliciting negativistic responses from highly analytical people by asking them to act before they feel ready.

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