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How to Lead a Pessimist

Have you ever worked or served with a pessimist? Here's an example. Your team sits down for a brainstorming meeting. You have some new ideas you'd like to discuss for your upcoming fall festival.

Someone shares an idea and most of the team likes it. But then there is Jill. The team pessimist jumps in and begins to tell everyone why the idea won't work. You can feel the energy and excitement vacate the room. Momentum is lost and you drag everyone through the rest of the meeting.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have a pessimist on your team? Someone who always sees the negative side and is very vocal about it? Someone who drags the rest of the team down? Someone who always pokes holes in everything, always has a bad attitude and points out why things are not going to work. They seem to always be in a bad mood and display an attitude of negativity. A pessimist can disrupt a team culture and affect the production of the other team members.

The word pessimism is from a Latin world - pessimus. It means "the worst." A pessimist takes a negative event and allows it to ruin their day or week or even month.

Here's a little humor so we won't get dominated by pessimism.

Someone said to always borrow money from a pessimist. They will never expect it back.

What do you call two pessimists that are dating? A double negative.