There’s a fine line between being a team player at work and being a pain in your boss’s neck. Those who walk the line gracefully are what we might call “productive skeptics.” They are willing to openly question the premise or logic or value of an idea, and they somehow manage to do this without building a reputation for being a naysayer or difficult to work with.
How can you be a productive skeptic in your own workplace? The better question might be how you become one—because it is a process, requiring intentionality on the part of the would-be critic.
In our at Work (from home) workshop on Feb. 4, Jim Detert, a professor at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business and author of the forthcoming book Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work, offered a host of advice on how to marshal the pluck and goodwill that every skeptic needs to be successful.