They are always the ones you’re checking on in a meeting. Reading them. Waiting for it…waiting for their complaint, because you know it’s coming. You roll your eyes thinking why does he or she always have to have such a negative attitude.

Yet many of your demonstratively disgruntled are also your informal leaders who have the chutzpah to actually say what everyone else is thinking.

They also care enough to say it.

They want to see change and they’re willing to not be the favorite and potentially put their job on the line to get it. They’re not going to kiss ***, they’re not going to fall into Group Think, and they’re not going to be the ones that give you the fake “I’m fine” smile. They will tell you how they see it. No holds barred. They won’t say anything to anyone they haven’t already said to your face. This is brutal transparency at its best. WAY better than passive aggressive as seen in the photo above.

Sometimes you have to coach the demonstratively disgruntled in HOW to communicate – candid they’ve got down pat, constructive maybe not so much – but at the end of the day, they are going to be the ones who will be the messenger letting you know that the building’s on fire and s/he needs water while everyone else quietly sits at their desk working as the flames lap at their toes, with fake smiles on their face responding correctly to your question of “how are things going?”

So next time they have something to say, don’t roll your eyes and think “not again” or shut down with the assumption that this person is simply negative. Really listen – what are they trying to tell you that no one else has the courage to say? And then thank them for caring enough to say it.

Photo Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/153966880981626431/