The collection of characters that makes up A.A. Milne’s children’s classic “Winnie the Pooh” are a cross-section of personality types that when summed, create a rich tapestry for children to feel. The boundless energy of Tigger, the hesitancy of Pooh, the confidence of Christopher Robin, the steadfast loyalty of Piglet – all give the child reader some early insight into behaviors they will be sorting our for a lifetime.
One of the most memorable characters that inhabit Pooh’s world is Eeyore. As an illustration of pessimism, Eeyore is a riot. If Eeyore inhabits the cubicle next to yours, or is on your team, not so funny.
Office “Eeyores” come in many flavors. Their are the collectors of grievances, past and present, slowly drowning under the weight of all the baggage they carry, and convinced of two things – it will never get better, and “I am not to blame.”
The traditional Eeyores couldn’t find a good thing to say about a sunny day and a rainbow. Every possible example of beauty or optimism is run through a sludge filled filter that reduces it to the same texture and feel, no matter what it is – lumpy, brown, and of no possible good use is what it all looks like after Eeyore sees it.
Some Eeyores refuse to see changes in other people, teams, or processes and still treat everyone and everything like it was 20 years ago. Their motto is..”If I ain’t growin’, neither are you.”
Ultimately, there is a diagnosis for the Eeyore’s of the world. The bad news is that is is essentially a large cake of depressive state of thinking with a frosting of paranoia, and a garnish of self-loathing. You have your work cut out for you. Eeyore untreated is a cancer that can suck the energy out of a team in a hurry. Engage Eeyore if only for defensive purposes, and give serious consideration to getting Eeyore out of the mix, off your team and away from your organization.
The good news about Eeyore is that they are donkeys by design. They will pitch in, carry a burden, and sacrifice themselves time and again while wallowing in a sea of self-pity. Getting Eeyore to see their worth to the team, the value of progress, and the opportunities that lie behind every rainy day is a challenge but do-able. Eeyores can also be very methodical and steadfast. You can depend on them to get it done, as well as you can depend on them moaning about it
Put your leadership pants on!