You know the type, don’t you? The person who makes blanket statements such as “that won’t work” or “it will take too much time” or “that will cost too much money” in response to every new idea or proposal? These people are what I call Wet Blanket Negativists. They want to squash any new idea or put out the fire of energy around new proposals. Here are a few facts about them:
- Their behavior is (typically) motivated out of fear.
- They rarely (if ever) come up with their own ideas or solutions.
- They typically can’t back up their negative statements with real reasons.
The high-caliber leader knows how to respond to those smothering statements. They use the art of the question. The next time a Wet Blanket Negativist tries that on you or a member of your team, try asking questions such as:
- What part, specifically, do you think won’t work?
- How much time is too much time and what would be a better amount?
- How much money do you think ought to be spent?
Remember, they won’t likely have an answer. They will back-pedal or give some sort of vague “It’s just won’t work” reiteration. When they do, let them off the hook gently.
However, the next time they try to smother an idea with their wet blanket statement, they will think twice about it because they know you will ask them to back it up.
Enjoy this technique? If so, you can find more like it at my up-coming webinar “Snipers, Steamrollers, and Chronic Complainers.”