How to Deal with an Eeyore: Move Forward Around the Eeyore
Can an Eeyore in your insurance agency be used for good? We bet you didn’t expect to talk about cartoon characters in reference to your insurance agency, but as we’ve been discussing all week, it’s true. Every agency has Tiggers, those bouncing and enthusiastic employees, who are willing to jump into just about anything. And on the other hand, agencies also have Eeyores, who are slow, pessimistic, and low-energy employees, for whom everything is a drag.
“I really feel like the goal should be not to immediately try to fire them, or to get rid of them. Maybe try to empower them first, or maybe try to work with them to turn more into a positive person. Maybe they won’t ever be a Tigger, and maybe they won’t always be upbeat and bubbly and positive, and that’s okay. To each their own”
So the question today is: how can you work around your Eeyore, and move forward around them?
Let’s back up just a little bit. So far this week, we covered how to first identify the Eeyores in your agency, so you know who you’re dealing with. Next, we talked about if you can change an Eeyore, and how to identify their patterns, so you can play to their strengths and work with them.
Today, we’re talking all about different ways you can move forward around your Eeyore.
Turning it into a Positive
More often than not, Eeyores are pessimistic. They’re resistant to change, and maybe even to common tasks they do every day. They might seem slow and uncertain to jump on board new things.
Instead of looking at this as a negative, perhaps you should try turning this into a positive. For example, you could look at it like they’re simply more detail-oriented, and that this skill can come in handy in certain aspects of your agency.
Looking for ways to think of your Eeyore’s traits in a positive way can help you move forward.
The next thing you can do to deal with your Eeyore is to ask their opinion.
“What would you do?”
If you have an Eeyore who is saying things like “I’m not gonna do it,” when they’re given a new task, or their bad attitude is starting to become disruptive, maybe it’s time to have a conversation with your Eeyore.
And when you talk with them, you can aim to shift their perspective, and ask for their advice.
Ask them: “What would you do in this situation?” or “What is your solution?” And see what your Eeyore can bring to the table.
Let’s use a specific example. Let’s say you’re trying to roll out a new process, and your Eeyore is resistant to it, and they’re making noise about how they disapprove. You can speak with them and say: “Hey Eeyore, what would you do? How do you think we can improve this process?”
It’s very possible that your Eeyore will have an idea, a practical and good idea that can be put to use. But it’s also very possible that your employee simply feels like they’re not being heard, and that they just want their thoughts heard more. Maybe they have some valid ideas for changing that process, and it could be part of their strengths that they bring to the table. For example, maybe they’re great at spotting future issues or potential problems, and they have great foresight.
Instead of working against your Eeyores or trying to change them, you can work with them, to either play to their strengths, or try to get them to shift their perspective.
Now, this isn’t something that always works. So another thing you can try is to change their role.
Task-Oriented Roles for Eeyores
Depending on what role your Eeyore is in, mixing things up might solve your issues. For example, giving them a more task-oriented role might work out very well. That’s a kind of role where they come in, get their job done, and move on. There’s not a lot of room in these roles to complain a lot, or to spread their negativity in a “cancerous” way.
Another thing you can do to move forward with your Eeyore is to remove them from large groups and other social situations. What is the purpose of that? To prevent their bad attitude from spreading to others.
This might be necessary if your Eeyore is vocal, especially if they’re continuously complaining and spreading their negativity. If you get to this point where you feel like separating your Eeyore is the best option, then it’s probably time to have an open and honest conversation with them.
An Honest Sit Down
Of course, if your Eeyore is impacting group dynamics and they’re constantly resistant, you should probably have a discussion with them. But if you can’t change them, and you don’t want to fire them, what should you discuss?
Firstly, you can review what your expectations are, and what the culture at your agency is like. You can let them know that negative comments from time to time are one thing, but their constant attitude is another. Remember, there’s a difference between having a bad day and a bad week, and a bad season in your life.
When you talk with your Eeyore, you might find out exactly what is causing their negativity. It might be something at home, or they might be struggling with something internally. If that’s the case, you can try to encourage them to leave their personal life at the door, and use work as a time to detach. While you might be considering letting your Eeyore go, you also might empower them with one conversation, helping them shift their perspective.
It’s also very possible that your Eeyore doesn’t realize that they are the problem. They might not see their attitude and behavior as all-that-impactful, and once you speak with them, it might be an eye-opening experience.
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