Falling Skies or Roses Abound   Leave a comment


Falling Sky This past weekend, everyone was encouraged to go outside and watch one of the most active meteor showers that only occurs every so many hundred years.  I must confess, I did not go outside to look for it.  One of my Facebook friends indicated that he had and found it disappointing so I am glad I chose to sleep instead.  However, that came to my mind this morning as I was thinking about the two differing perspectives that tend to exist within an organization.  So today I thought I would do a post regarding those who see nothing but sunshine and those who are always noticing that the sky is falling.

While I find that a majority of people fall somewhere in the middle, there are often two opposing views when you get a group of people together and there is a discussion regarding the condition of an organization, a project, or society in general.  You have some people who can only see positive.  These individuals are sometimes referred to as the “Pollyannas” of the group.  They find only positive and are determined that everything is going to turn out in some marvelous way.  This group is frequently referred to as naive and/or unrealistic.

The second group has a view that is overwhelmingly negative.  These individuals see only the problems that exist and are convinced that doom is imminent.  They are often referred to as pessimistic.  Others in the group quickly tire of hearing from them and find that they are depressing.  The view of the “sky is falling” is seen as over-exaggerating and unrealistic.

(I find it a little ironic that both ways to describe these viewpoints come from children’s literature.)

The similarity found in both these groups is that most of them are viewed as unrealistic.  The larger group discredits them and can easily become annoyed with the individuals.

The challenge for a leader is to manage and navigate through discussions when one or both of these viewpoints are present.  A leader wants to ensure that the voices which have one of these viewpoints are heard.  A balanced discussion requires the leader to not only allow voices from the middle to be heard but also voices from the edges.  At the same time, the leader also has to not allow these opposing viewpoints to dominate the discussion.  These voices can be overwhelming and can easily have a negative impact upon the group as a whole.

So whether you have an overly positive viewpoint (pollyanna) or an overly alarmed viewpoint (sky is falling) or somewhere in between, listen to the other viewpoints, hear the voices and move forward.  Leaders, be sure that you are striving for balance and inclusion.lovely_roses

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