Every organization is subject to having people who can drain energy from the team.

Author David Salyers says there are three types: victims, naysayers and know-it-alls. I hadn’t thought much of the classification, but have noticed it since learning these designations.

  • Victims take problems personally. Rather than work to solve the problem objectively, they get mired down with it. The victim feels “put upon” by the problem. He sees the problem as proof the world is out to get him. It causes a negative attitude and creates a “glass half empty” environment.
  • Naysayers are pessimists. Their first look is at what is wrong versus what is right. Their first approach to change is to believe it won’t work. Trust is rarely forthcoming.
  • Know-it-alls shut down teamwork. Others’ ideas are subordinated to their own. They shut down conversation and creativity because they are overbearing with their thoughts and opinions.

Candidly, I can confess to all three of these behaviors. But Salyers says we should all remember that we choose how we approach things.

We can choose to believe we are winners as compared to victims. Rather than imagine it won’t work out, you can believe the problem will be solved, the game can be won, and progress can be achieved.

You can choose optimism versus pessimism. You can adopt the attitude that every puzzle has a solution. That good processes lead to good results.

You can favor learning and listening over fighting to have your ideas win the day.

Make the right choices each time. Don’t drain energy. Bring the juice.