How to Deal with an Eeyore: Know Who They Are
When you’re running an insurance agency, you probably know by now that there are plenty of different types of employees, with different personalities, traits, and habits. Sometimes, these different personalities can be great for working in insurance (and for the workplace in general), and other times, these personalities can be a challenge to deal with. We like to categorize common personalities into two different distinct labels: Eeyores and Tiggers.
“When you have an Eeyore, there’s obviously different levels of Eeyore, or Eeyore-ism, I should say. If an Eeyore is becoming a cancer in the agency, that has to be dealt with and it can’t be led to go on and on and on. If there’s just somebody who’s more of a skeptic, that’s a different skill set”
If Eeyore and Tigger sound familiar, let us jog your memory: they’re the two cartoon characters from the stories of Winnie the Pooh. Tigger is the bouncing tiger, who is energetic and enthusiastic, while Eeyore is a gloomy donkey, for whom everything is a drag.
Already, you’re probably thinking of who in your agency is more similar to the bouncing and energetic tiger, and who is more like the pessimistic donkey.
These two characters are fun and cute to watch on TV, but when they’re in your insurance agency, they both impact the atmosphere in the agency. That’s especially true when it comes to the Eeyores.
So, what do you do if you have an Eeyore in your agency? The first step is to really understand who they are, be able to identify them as an Eeyore, and figure out how much of an Eeyore they really are.
Who is an Eeyore?
In order to know how to tackle Eeyores in your agency, you need to first understand what being an Eeyore means, and be able to identify them. An Eeyore is someone who is basically stuck in the mud, who doesn’t want to go after new things, and for whom little obstacles are big problems.
For example, you might hear an Eeyore complain about little things, such as the hold times of carriers being too long. They tend to be resistant to change, and even good news might be met with apprehension. They’re usually skeptical, slow to adapt, and all-around a little resistant.
Eeyores generally lean more negative, when it comes to just about everything. They also might be really anxious about pending changes.
When it comes to Eeyores, you’ll probably even notice their body language reflects their mood. They might seem like they’re dragging.
So, when you identify an Eeyore in your agency, how should you react? We think the best way to handle most Eeyores is to accept and expect this fact, instead of trying to change them.
It’s just their Personality
Once you know you have an Eeyore, the best thing to do is to treat this person a little bit differently, and to generally just expect this behavior from them.
What you shouldn’t do is get frustrated by this behavior from an Eeyore, and try to force them to change. Instead of getting upset, and trying to change their Eeyore ways, we say you should almost disassociate from it.
Why do we say that? Well, changing someone is pretty difficult, and most of the time, almost impossible. But you can improve people, modify them, and also find ways that they add personal value to the agency in their own unique way.
For example, if you have an Eeyore who tends to put the brakes on something, and a Tigger who jumps into everything, maybe there is a time when slowing down is better, and that pumping the brakes can really save the day.
The reality is that at an insurance agency, a collaboration between everyone is key. This means that yes, many Eeyores can provide a ton of value for your agency.
Now, the thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to Eeyores, there are different levels of Eeyore-ism.
Different Degrees of Eeyore
If an Eeyore is a little cautious, a little slow to adopt things, and a little apprehensive, it’s likely that this can be easily managed, and even useful at times (as we just mentioned above). But there are also definitely different degrees of Eeyore-ism, and there can be much more extreme Eeyores.
If you have an extreme Eeyore, they might be more like cancer in your agency. Their attitude can drag everything else down, and this is when it can become a problem.
Someone who is just more of a skeptic and is apprehensive, who is a little slow to adapt, and is just a touch negative, that is the real definition of an Eeyore. But on the other hand, if someone is starting trouble behind everyone’s back, they’re resistant to everything, they’re openly negative and unprofessional about it, this can be downright destructive and disruptive. This is when having an Eeyore can be an issue.
If you allow an Eeyore like this to continue in your agency, this can be a big problem, because you’re likely to lose good people because of it. Your high-powered Tiggers don’t want to try to change Eeyores all the time, and don’t want to be experiencing roadblocks to their success.
At the end of the day, it’s important to understand what being an Eeyore means for your agency, and to identify who exactly they are. If your Eeyores are mild cases and their opinions are helpful at times, you should just appreciate their different perspective instead of fighting them to change. On the other hand, if you have Eeyores who are negatively impacting others and who are disrupting your agency, this might be a more serious issue that needs to be dealt with.
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