Welcome the nay-sayerWe’ve all read or heard about the research that validates for business leaders the importance of having a happy and positive workforce. But what about the value that the ‘black hatters’, critics and deep thinkers can add to the success of workplaces?

One of my favourite researchers and writers on what is now being referred to as 2nd wave positive psychology is Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener.

In his latest post, he writes “happy people are prone to have a “good enough” philosophy. Once they meet their own loose standards for acceptability they are likely to reach mental closure. They can be satisfied with ideas that lack polish. It is their unhappy colleagues who can run to the rescue. When it comes time to take products and ideas from 80% to 100% it is the critical people who perform better. This is why teams with different personality types can perform so well despite the obvious differences in their thinking.”

This has so much importance for any leader in recognising how to structure a team for success and I recommend you read the entire post here.

You’ve probably heard the mantra that happiness breeds happiness, positivity breeds positivity. Science actually validates that… but that’s not necessarily always a good thing.

As far back as Socrates, the importance of a critical mind and the power of questioning the status quo has been around… unfortunately, I fear that in our rush to have an ‘upbeat’ world, we might be missing out on the value that the critics and black hatters and deep thinkers can bring to our world.

I personally stand proudly in the naturally happy, optimistic and positive arena, however, I have learned through my academic study that a critical approach to even the best of news reported in research findings, can push for, as Biswas-Diener suggests, that next little bit that’s not quite complete, or that next 5% or 10% that could be the real game changer.

It’s time to welcome back the critics.