Pessimists are defined by their beliefs which are anchored on one thing: the worst will and are bound to happen. That evil will always prevail over good, and that all the undesirable outcomes will find a way to ruin a situation.
For most managers, this mental attitude has no place in the engineering industry. But they are wrong – one pessimistic engineer around won’t hurt.
While they are a challenge to work with due to their nature, pessimistic engineers have a position to make in organizations according to the book, “Step Up-Lead in Six Moments That Matter.” Written by Colm Foster and Henry Evans, the book has some interesting insights towards the need of negativity in the workplace which applies in the field of engineering.
So what can pessimistic people offer on the table? Here are 3:
They help make sound decisions
Because they are the ones who make the conversations difficult by bringing up the worst that could happen, pessimists are bound to look for problems more than the solutions. For this, they contribute by allowing the problems to be faced head on before the worst comes.
They balance out arguments
If you are an engineering manager and your team is composed of “yes men,” the odds are that you are all set up for failure. Why? Because with such unanimous thinking, no one will dare to question the leadership at times that it is needed. Someone has to do it once in a while to test the integrity of the decisions made.
They prepare the team for the downsides
This is perhaps the greatest advantage of pessimists, all things considered. They view the worst of things to happen which forces the organization make a Plan B or alternative solutions. It works especially in engineering where there are a lot of risks and unforeseen circumstances are bound to happen.
But because pessimists only have these three advantages, they are treated differently. It is important that their inputs are heard, but they are not required every time. Pessimists are only valuable when they do not waste time, energy, and effort with their ideas.