The Downside of Optimism

The Downside of Optimism

There have been numerous studies that show being an optimist is good for your physical and mental wellbeing. However, does the benefits of being an optimist translate to the showroom? Not necessarily. According to Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, there are generally two types of people: multipliers and diminishers. Multipliers, as the name implies, highlight the intelligence and skill sets of their co-workers. Conversely, diminishers do exactly the opposite. Even the best managers and leaders can have elements of a diminisher in them because their personalities are so large they tend to inhibit or intimate their fellow team members.

Optimism is one of the characteristics of a diminisher. The potential downside of an eternal optimist is that they are so positive that almost anything can be accomplished they tend to turn a blind eye to the difficulty in achieving the goal. The way to avoid optimistic diminishing is to acknowledge how difficult a task or project will be. Wiseman also suggests asking lots of questions that help to identify potential challenges such as “what obstacles are we going to have to overcome that we have not yet considered? Are there good reasons that we are heading down the wrong path? What questions have we not asked that we should have?

Unbridled optimism can be a negative simply due to the fact that fellow team members, subcontractors and others involved with a kitchen and bath remodel need to have their experiences validated. Even if you see the glass half full all of the time, understand that many on your team are involved with difficult projects, taxing deadlines and outside service and product providers that often disappoint. When you acknowledge the difficulty in achieving goals, deadlines and/or budgets, you validate feelings that most of your team are reticent to vocalize.


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