Employee from Hell: The Cynic


The cynical employee is the one who never seems to have faith in anyone or anything around him (her). “Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.” is his mantra. If you have an employee who is chronically cynical, it can be exhausting. They seem to resist all forms of motivation, and getting them to be proactive or adopt new things is a chore. What do you do?

To answer this, it’s first important to distinguish the cynical employee with the garden variety negative employee. Where the negative employees see doom and gloom wherever they turn, the cynical employee is willing to accept something – as long as you can show it to them. The tiring part, of course, is the process of breaking through that ‘show me’ barrier all the time.

The best approach is to, instead of becoming frustrated, use the cynical employee’s natural inclination to your benefit. You see, when you think of it, being cynical isn’t always a Bad Thing. Sometimes a little sober second thought can lead to better decisions, or prevent bad ones from coming to fruition.

Try this: Use your cynic as your official Devil’s Advocate. Run all your ideas past him before you implement them. Ask him to challenge you. This has several benefits:

1. It involves him in the process and makes him feel valued

2. It gives you a guaranteed non-over optimistic assessment

3. It prepares you for any negative feedback you may receive when you do try and implement it

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