On dealing with naysayers

This post might come back to haunt me someday, but...

Today a friend of mine mentioned that a new leadership hire shot down something he mentioned, claiming that it was too ambitious or out of reach. Naturally this was upsetting, as well as a disappointment.

He then asked: "How on Earth have you gone this long in the industry without choking out people like this?"

I related how I deal with folks like that, and while it might come back to bite me, here's how I deal with those folks:

  • I tend to ignore folks that say things like that, as I have found that they tend to not know what the they are talking about, usually due to lack of actual experience doing the things they are disparaging, assuming it is unattainable or too difficult, etc. Good leaders will ask “How do we do that?", not assume we can't.
  • Learning that it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission has been the best thing for my career.

The truth is if they become too much of a problem I update my resume and move on as, in my opinion, leadership has failed. Usually problem leaders tend to either out themselves as hacks or I'm just in the wrong place for me.

I have had many conversation like this:
Them: "You can't do that, we don't have the (skill, resources, knowledge, etc.)"
Me: "I just did. It's running right now."