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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Essential Contrarian

      If you don’t have a contrarian in your group, go find one.

     Contrarians are those people who  doubt everything, question beyond reason, keep pushing for more explanation. They stretch out discussion when you just want to get some damn thing done.

     The contrary spectrum runs from skepticism to all-out opposition. Wherever the bothersome person is on the spectrum, responding with anger or dismissal – which is really tempting – is the wrong way to go. And don’t ignore it – some staff members will be listening, and you should be, too.

     Contrarians aren’t always just plain negative, but sometimes they really are. When that is so, they need to go find work elsewhere.

      Mature managers know how to handle the entire range. They understand the importance of listening before acting, seeking to understand what drives a person’s beliefs. Sometimes complainers benefit from explanation, sometimes they just need a respectful listener.