I tend to have what I call a douchebag coexistence problem; meaning when I perceive someone as a douchebag, all I seem to think about is their douchebagginess instead of listening to anything they have to say. They could just have created an awesome framework that builds enterprise applications in less than 10 lines of code AND makes me toast in the morning but the second they start talking to me this little voice in my head just starts repeating "douchebaggity doo douchebaggity doo...". Needless to say, this is not a healthy response to what is probably just a pessimistic person. It's something I'm working on.
So I read books like The No-Asshole Rule, Managing Humans and How to Win Friends and Influence People... and I still hear the voices. Honestly, the "How To Win Friends..." book is great for dealing with people in general and I recommend it to anyone who has to talk to people on a regular basis. Yes, anyone who has to talk to people in any capacity, at all, should read that book.
I also just read an interesting article on the Harvard Business Review website about How to Handle the Pessimist on Your Team. I recommend reading the full article, but I'll paraphrase shortly three approaches that are described:
1. Create awareness. This is best done by pulling the team member aside and explaining how his comments are received.2. Reposition negative statements. Don't let negative comments linger; ask for clarification and maybe even require a follow up "But..." statement.3. Involve the whole team. Set team norms and ask that everyone observe them.
So anyway, the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Like I said, I'm working on it.
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