In today’s extremely negative and dramatic world in real life and online, it can be helpful to look at the brighter side of circumstances. Focusing on the positive impact of current situations at work can improve performance and reduce stress. But what happens when you have a boss or colleague who is overly optimistic? Unfortunately, losing touch with reality at work can lead to a lack of planning, failure to reach performance goals, and overconfidence.
In the office, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. There is a balance between being overly optimistic and having a positive mindset. This is similar to the balance between being excessively skeptical and being a realistic thinker. The most productive organizations and professionals know how to incorporate the right amount of optimism and realism. Many executives and professionals encounter others who don’t fully grasp the duties and responsibilities needed to perform a role. Here’s how to handle an overly optimistic team member or co-worker.
Recognize Their Optimistic Perspective
If your co-worker has proposed a positive solution or idea, first be sure to thank them for their optimistic viewpoint. Recognizing your co-worker and their support can illustrate that you don’t take them for granted and appreciate their help. In the workplace, genuine collaboration and appreciation are often overlooked while management focuses on issues. Your words can build a stronger relationship with your co-worker that might be beneficial to you both in the future.
Explain the Reality of the Circumstances
If the suggestion your optimistic colleague proposed isn’t practical, take some time to discuss the situation’s reality. Explain the details and background necessary to come up with a possible solution. Be honest and let them know if a project would require more time, resources, or people. If your boss is overly optimistic, it is even more critical that you neutrally present the facts. You don’t want to seem as though you are shooting down their solutions or ideas. Present any research you have done that proves your point.
Ask for Their Assistance in Brainstorming
Professionals with an overly optimistic viewpoint can often have good ideas and offer innovative ways to solve problems. Those solutions could be successful if backed by the appropriate procedures, people, and systems. Ask your optimistic co-worker to help you during the brainstorming process. You can schedule a brainstorming session via phone or in-person to get started. You can set any parameters to the conversation in the beginning, such as the timeframe or available resources. From there, you can both be free to offer ideas without fear of backlash or judgment.
Share Your Conclusion
After brainstorming with an optimistic team member, you will probably have many possibilities to choose from. If you think it may be beneficial, you can include your colleague in the process of reducing the options. However, if your brainstorming was related to your role, including factors that only you are aware of, it may be better to narrow down options on your own. Finally, you can share your decision with your positive co-worker after making your choice.
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