The Sad Value of Cynics

I recently witnessed the birth of a cynic. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. And as I watched it happen, I felt powerless to stop it.

A  smart, effective, loyal employee had endured several years of oppressive management at a job he liked and was now a working for new ownership and new promises of good things ahead. He was hopeful that the new owners were the real deal, and he had begun to muster his courage and rally once more to help grow something creative within the workplace that he valued for its product and coworkers – if not for its previous bosses.

And then came the betrayal. The massive bait and switch.

Bait & Switch – to and order of magnitude…

As the news came that the promises the new owners had made not two weeks before would be pushed aside in the wake of new, destructive rules and harsh communication, the hopeful part of this employee – the part that had weathered every previous storm with grace and professionalism – seemed to die. This was the proverbial last straw. And when the hopeful glimmer of that employee faded, in its place emerged the Cynic.

Cynics are, at their core, profoundly disappointed idealists. Cynics are incredibly important to notice in the workplace, because they are very protective and shield people from getting their hopes dashed again. The difficulty of cynical views – even if they are profoundly practical on one level – is that they prevent hope from moving into action. Without hope, creativity cannot expand and curiosity and imaginative thinking fail, and innovation and imagination become nearly impossible.

There is much more to this story and volumes to be written on this topic, but my question is this: who are the cynics in your workplace and what are they telling you about the faith and trust that exists in your company’s culture?


More Posts

Discovering Faith in Yourself

This post was originally published on By Laura Crandall How intuition and self-esteem brought me back from burnout. I was supposed to be over-the-moon happy. I’d just completed the biggest thing on my List of Things That Would Be Wonderful To Do:  I’d graduated from Harvard.  The idea first emerged when I was 16

Better Than “Normal”

Leading with our best work yet   Have you ever gotten lost in the woods or really turned-around in an unfamiliar city? Did you, while trying to figure out where you were and how to get to where you wanted to go, decide that being disoriented was probably how life would feel from this day

Grief and Loss in a Time of Global Distress

The importance of creating rituals of kindness In times of old – you know, back in 2019 – if a family member or other person you loved died, there were predictable paths and social norms to acknowledge grief and loss. These might have been dictated by one’s religion or individual beliefs, but setting aside a

How Clearly Are You Seeing Your Organization?

Can you really see your organization clearly? Do intergenerational issues, a toxic culture or unclear expectations cloud your vision? Communications expert and management strategist Laura Crandall will join us to discuss how we can get a new perspective, shift our assumptions, and learn new strategies for organizational clarity.


Which traits make you happiest & most effective?

Download your Character Compass and reconnect to the things that bring more satisfaction and joy to your work.

Scroll to Top