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In the "No"

Pessimistic employees may not be so bad for your business after all.

This story appears in the September 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Pessimism has gotten a bad rap-nobody wants to hire a pessimist. But a recent study conducted at Central Michigan University found there are benefits to pessimism-pessimists tend to make safer choices with regard to gambling than their optimistic counterparts. So could pessimistic employees be an asset to your business?

An employee who plays devil's advocate or sees potential obstacles to a project can be invaluable. Says Bill Catlette, co-author with Richard Hadden of Contented Cows Give Better Milk: The Plain Truth About Employee Relations and Your Bottom Line, "Often, that difference manifests itself in the form of caution or skepticism-qualities that good leaders come to appreciate and effectively utilize."

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