Firstline Live 2009: Getting naysayers on board

Firstline Live 2009: Getting naysayers on board

Aug 28, 2009
By staff

Team members are supposed to work together. But it seems that every team contains a naysayer—someone who shoots down ideas and points out all the reasons a solution isn’t viable. Is that person just a downer who doesn’t play nice? Not necessarily.

Debbie Allaben Gair, CVPM, told a crowd of Firstline Live attendees in Kansas City today about an employee she used to work with who was hardly ever onboard with new programs that were presented during team meetings. This employee usually behaved in an exemplary manner. She paid close attention to details and always followed through, but she was slow to adapt.

Gair viewed her objections as negativity. In actuality, it reflected the employee’s work style, which was systematic and thorough. In short, she was a thinker.

The so-called naysayer needed time to analyze the situation rather than make on-the-spot decisions in meetings. To help, Gair decided to present this employee with ideas before rolling them out in the team meeting. She asked the employee to point out problems. This opened a dialogue that allowed the employee to process her thoughts.

The result: The negative team-meeting comments stopped. Because the employee had participated in the creation of the ideas, she was often supportive of them in the meetings.  Best yet, Gair benefited from the team member’s input in terms of accuracy and thoughtfulness. They were able to benefit from their different work styles, rather than be at odds. So if you’re dealing with a team member who always seems to object, try involving them earlier. The extra time just might turn “no” into “yes.”