Lessons Learned: Negators and Affirmators
There are two “extremes” of people I think about today. Both types can be found all over the place, trying to do their best work, but being slightly held back by their own extra cautiousness or optimism.
One is the overly pessimistic, always seeing things negatively. When you approach this kind, he always finds you a dozen of reasons why something cannot be done, all these is a flash as if just pulling them out of his sleeve right on the spot, without any effort. If you don’t watch out you’re starting to believe yourself, and in two moves you’re convinced. Just that, after you go away, you realize that you still need to solve the problem; you’ve just fallen for the spell. Then you have to go back and start over again.
Negators can be an annoying species, one that uses up your time if you don’t know how to manage them. But then, they are not really harmful, it all comes down for you to find the right lever.
The other one is seemingly wonderful: it doesn’t matter what, it will be done. When? By tomorrow? Of course, no problem! You cannot find something to throw at him that scares him away. At the naive beginning it doesn’t look suspect at all. Just great! A great collaboration. Just that tomorrow the job isn’t done. Neither is it the day after tomorrow or the next one. Something has always occurred, somebody hasn’t delivered or was holding him up, something happened and interfered with your having the expected result, there was no time.
Then you are asking again it to be done, now asking for the actual time it can be delivered. And you get the same nice response and assurance for tomorrow. Then you start over again.
But what’s when you’re really counting on what’s been agreed and the stakes are not small any more? What if all of you depend of it timely completion, just to find it’s not done? The guy might just have been sincerely benevolent (something that you seek for anyway) and underestimated. That might happen and it’s a natural thing that can be easily corrected and improved with experience. But it is a flag risen when it repeatedly happens. Or he just wanted to get rid of you as soon as possible, and this is the most easy, quick and pleasant way. So he can look after his business without you bothering him. Or he just can’t say “No“, or won’t accept responsibility for his own opinion / refusal, because of insufficient self-confidence. Then he accepts quite anything you ask and expect (meaning you say can) be done.
By all means, I prefer to tell me it’s not possible, then I have at least a chance of an argument. There’s the possibility laying to find out constraints, blocking factors or understand if or why something is really not possible to be done under the required conditions.
And, not last, at least I know we cannot count on having the item, then alternative planning and finding options can be done in a timely manner, and later major impacts (that will surely occur otherwise) can be avoided.
But in between these two kinds, lie an entire spectrum of wonderfully different people. Different in thinking and diverse between themselves, however each joining the team effort. A single conscious step taken by each eventual extreme towards the respective direction can turn an extreme in cooperative colleague with a willingness to take the responsibility for his own job and a can do attitude. And that’s what I am very lucky to be the context I can have the chance to work in.