Blog: How to deal with the 'Naysayer' of your team

Life @ Work

How to deal with the 'Naysayer' of your team

Here’s how they can be dealt effectively and without conflict.
How to deal with the 'Naysayer' of your team

We all have that one person in our workplace teams who’s first reaction to any new idea or suggestion is “NO”. The minute someone suggests an innovative idea which has not been tried before this person is the first one to shoot it down. I am sure an image crossed your mind the minute you read this. We all deal with “Naysayer” at work.

Here’s how they can be dealt effectively and without conflict:

  • Think of alternatives - If you are planning to suggest a new idea or initiative, before you step into an individual or group meeting with the “Naysayer “think of at least 2-3 alternate ideas. You can start by stating alternate options first, since this individual is most likely to reject them. Once, the alternatives are exhausted throw the main idea at them. They will think twice before rejecting it since this would be their third or fourth rejection.
  • Plan the conversation in your head - It’s safe to say that by now you would have spent considerable amount of time working in the same team together and would be aware of how the “Naysayer” is most likely to respond during a conversation. So, before taking a new idea to them work out the possible flow of conversation in your head. That way you will already be prepared with counter answers and will be in a better position to handle this individual.
  • Get others on board - Before suggesting a new idea in a group meeting pitch your idea to other team members, try to get them on board with the idea so that once you introduce the idea in the group meeting, Its met with least resistance. Keep in mind that here the idea is not to alienate or insult the “Naysayer “. However, if 9 out of 10 people are agreeing to something it will be a bit tough for the “Naysayer “to stand their ground in rejecting your idea. 
  • Don’t get defensive - It’s hard not to lose your cool after constantly hearing a NO from an individual. It’s like speaking with a wall and hitting a dead end, however getting defensive or arguing with this individual will not help you in anyway. With time you will need to learn to deal with this person with tact and diplomacy. 


It’s hard to deal with an individual who’s first reaction to anything new is “NO”. Their most commonly used line is “No this won’t work out, let’s just continue with what we are already doing”. Instead of taking offence from their constant resistance to change and innovation, we must learn to deal with them smartly. Sometimes people are wired a certain way, but hey! what’s life without a little bit of challenge right?

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Topics: Life @ Work, #GuestArticle

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