“HOOVER” PEOPLE

“Hoover” People – by Arnie Wohlgemut

In Britain, “hoover”, a word commonly used for vacuuming – just like we use Kleenex and Jello.  A “Hoover” person impacts you pretty much like a vacuum – sucking the life out of you.

I’m sure you recognize a few “Hoover” people in your life.  They are the ones that rarely approach things positively, they generally see all the bad things that can happen.  Good at critique, they are not as good at problem solving.  You’ve heard them say “Ya – BUT…” many times!

I worked with a Hoover person. It was exhausting.  I braced myself for the inevitable “Ya – BUT…” negative attitude, constant complaining about stuff.  It was draining!

Then I found myself mirroring the “Hoover” stance.  Subtly (I almost didn’t notice it, it happened so easily), I became like my colleague.


A “Hoover” person impacts you pretty much like a vacuum – sucking the life out of you.

As I’ve continued to study leadership, I’ve discovered a few quick tips to deal with the “hoovers” in life:

  1. Build a strong sense of personal resolve, focusing on your personal life goals and resolving to dig deep and push forward, resisting infection.
  2. Develop a mind-set of resilience, that ability to bounce back from negative interaction.
  3. Keep positive, this is the best defensive against getting sucked in.
  4. Limit the exposure time to short snippets.  If you need to spend extended time with them, take control of the conversion.

Over the years, I’ve been able to reduce the sucking power of my “hoover” colleagues, reducing them to a breath of hot air.

Choose to feed on the positive, actively looking for the good and deleting the “but…” out of your own mind’s conversations.  Your mind gives back exactly what you feed it.