The Cynic and the Sceptic. Knowing the Difference.
Failing to recognise the difference between the cynic and the sceptic is a failure of management. It takes a discerning eye and tuned in ear to notice the often subtle differences:
- Sceptic: generally have questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, opinions or beliefs stated as facts. They express doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.
- Cynic: A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness and whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.
If you have a cynic on board then make them available to industry as quickly as possible. They’ll suck the life, energy and joy out of the team and derail progress. Harsh but true.
Sceptics can be your greatest gift. What they need is a ‘good listening to’ in order to get to the source of their questioning, or resistance or anxiety. Experience tells us that sceptics have very valid points – when given the chance to fully and safely express themselves.
Sceptics can stop the well intentioned, but over enthused stepping over a cliff.
Sceptics won over will turn into your greatest supporter – never make them wrong for expressing themselves or confuse them with cynics.