Quiet Naysayers On Your Team By Explicitly Asking For Opposition

Quiet Naysayers On Your Team By Explicitly Asking For Opposition

When you’re working together with people, nothing kills a productive mood like naysayers. If you want to keep their negativity to a minimum, intentionally ask everyone for opposition so they can get it out of their system.

Photo by Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.

Naysayers wreck a decent teamwork environment because they focus too much on doing things “right” (or their way) the first time around. This keeps work from actually progressing and being refined later on. To help battle naysayers on your team, Jennifer Porter at Harvard Business Review suggests you get ahead of them:

Explicitly ask for opposition. For every major decision, ask the team to consider reasons against the prevailing opinion. By doing this, you will normalize opposition and help the team see it as a regular and important part of the decision-making process.

You also avoid singling out the naysayer and souring their mood any further, and it lets them get things off their chest so they feel like they’re heard. Once they know their input has been considered, they will probably be more willing to help move things forward and keep progress from stalling.

How to Handle the Naysayer On Your Team [Harvard Business Review]


  • This sounds like an April Fool. As it’s an easy way to derail an meeting.

    However, there is a way out. It’s not just enough to oppose, they have to present a solution or alternative strategy.

    It’s easy to generically trash someone else’s ideas when there aren’t any stakes. Somewhat harder when having to produce their own ideas for scrutiny.

    In all seriousness, this is a useful way of making progress as it encourages passive-aggressive types to become engaged again.

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