The subject may look very strange. Sure it is, as this depicts personalities and the way we approach issues. There are basically two major types of personalities when confronted with issues-those who start from a " No it will not work" and elaborating why it will not work and the other end "Yes it will work". You can say this is the same as optimistic and pessimistic characteristics. But this is a little more than this. Those who start with a No are not necessarily pessimistic and those who say Yes are not necessarily optimistic. You may ask how can that be. The people who say No and argue for status quo are also those who are optimistic/realistic otherwise but think that saying yes will add too much work to them...work avoidance can make them say No. This can be tuned to their past experiences of having said Yes and get assigned with a lot of unrelated work which neither is enjoyable nor is making any sense on hindsight.
Therefore there is a conscious change on the part of the individual who slowly builds a Tortoise like Shell to challenge every change proposal, every new idea as it is not may result in something which is not normally part of the role of the person. Are they people bad..not really. They might have been yesterday's super performers with high energy but the invisible shell they carry makes them behave they actually do. Very soon the Shell kills them as it ensures they are seen as resistant camp leaders (as they still retain leadership qualities to convince No sayers). It is important that the bosses of those Shelled individuals identify this early and give feedback to remove it from their behavior. It is a responsibility of the bosses and not HR to do this.
Coming to Yes sayers..are they genuine optimists. Not really. In a lot of cases they are survivors. They know saying Yes is what Management wants to hear and say Yes but studious ones push the consequences of the yes to someone else. This group is more dangerous than No sayers as they look like fully devoted but are not really. This differentiates them from Optimists who are also doers to ensure success of a decision. These Yes saying Chameleons can be distinguished by characteristics like not owning failures, blaming everyone else, everything outside after a failure and sometimes finger pointing own team members.
It is important to note that some genuine optimists can fail due to lack of experience or circumstances that were not foreseen before. They usually own up failures and try to become better. It is important for leaders not to punish them for their entrepreneurship as risks needs to be taken for better tomorrow but success is not 100%.
Next time if you are in a meeting look out for the Tortoises or Chameleons. Just ensure you are not one of them. Forget the inactive, cat on the walls. As they are there today and will be there tomorrow. Looks to me like a zoo in corporations but that is the way it is.
- ▼ 2009 (34)