Team handling is unique for each one of us in a corporate. While each individual is different in their thinking, there are some patterns that all of us generally fall into, and that define common personalities. So, understanding these common personalities help us to assess our own behavior and also others’. Based on our personality we think in a specific way and prepare ourselves in handling the situations and opportunities. These strategies that we follow to prepare ourselves for these situations, handle our work, and opportunities are called Cognitive Strategies.
‘Strategic Optimism’ and ‘Defensive Pessimism’ are the most common types of Cognitive Strategies adopted for handling a team. First of all, what are they?
Strategic Optimism: It is strategic thinking involving setting high expectations and thinking only about the best outcome, without paying attention to negative results and the obstacles that come along the way.
Defensive Pessimism: It is an approach of keeping all the expectations very low and prepare for the worst. In this way, they counter the anxiety that might accumulate before getting the results and negate the impact of the worst-case scenario on them.
The words Optimism and Pessimism, used in coining the terms of these strategies, have their own advantages and disadvantages.
While both of them focus on achieving the goals, it’s the approach with which handling is done matters. Strategic optimists focus on possibilities and defensive pessimists focus on negating the obstacles. High expectations drive Strategic optimists in achieving their goals. Sometimes, they may not see the issues that crop up and blindly move towards achieving their goals, until the obstacles stop you completely. Defensive pessimists, on the other hand, invest their energy on negatives and overcoming their fear factors, but at the same time achieve the goals as all the negatives are negated.
Cognitive processes are based on perspectives and no specific approach seems ideal. It completely depends on your personality and the factors that drive you. More than genetics, our personalities are built based on the situations we faced, the results we got, and the impact of the society and individuals that surrounded us. Both these personalities can’t be pushed too much to think otherwise.
As a person, it becomes important for you to understand these personalities and choose wisely for yourself. Whichever strategy you use, you need to balance in order to think from the other side; and this gives you the best results overall. Also, understanding your colleague’s personality helps you to be aware of their mindset and adapt for a better output.
In addition, if you are in a leading role, it becomes more important for you to understand these strategies, not only to adapt yourself but also to manage your team effectively. Rather than using your own principles, if you give freedom to everyone to exhibit their own personality, your team flourishes. Slowly, you can modulate everyone and make sure no one is extremely thinking with one’s own strategies.
Also Read: Observational Learning in Corporates