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11 Characteristics of Yes People

 , December 02, 2020 updated on April 25, 2023
Yes people, historically known as yes men, is a term for individuals who habitually offer unreasoned positive support to others. This is a type of organizational behavior that is learned in settings that reward a positive "can-do" attitude over other attributes such as candor and intelligence. The following are the basic characteristics of yes people.


Sycophancy is the use of flattery and agreeableness to influence.


Yes people provide positivity to an organization by supporting others and demonstrating optimism that ideas can work. There tends to be no content behind this positivity. However, it could be argued that unreasoning positivity may be more effective than unreasoning negativity.

Conflict Avoidance

In some cases, individuals become yes people because they have low tolerance for disagreement such that they prioritize harmony with others over making an intelligent contribution.


Yes people may fall into the habit of looking for how to impress others as opposed to actually thinking about the problems and decisions at hand. As such, they may use buzzwords they don't understand and support plans they haven't studied.

Gaming the System

Yes people view organizations as a game whereby you earn political points by supporting others. They could be accused of gaming the system as this strategy doesn't solve actual business problems.


Cronyism is when power and resources are distributed on the basis of relationships as opposed to merit. Yes people seek cronyism and hope that by being friendly to authority figures they will earn things such as promotions and bonuses or at least not be fired.


Yes people easily take on work that they will never deliver. That is to say that by easily saying yes to requests, they simply take on more work then could ever be delivered. This doesn't mean that they are unproductive. Some yes people are eager to please and therefore work to deliver high priority items while committing to other items they will never deliver.

Command and Control

An organization filled with yes people resembles a command and control structure whereby commands at the top face no resistance from the organization, even if these commands are fully irrational. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if the people at the top are extremely competent.

Decision Efficiency

By providing agreeableness, yes people help to reduce the social friction surrounding problem solving and decision making. A case could be made that they add significant value where there are too many highly political critical thinkers who all want to argue endlessly about every decision.


Mediocrity is a pathetic state where an individual clings to a group for safety, security, comfort and sustenance but minimizes their contribution to the group. Yes person is one type of mediocrity amongst an diverse universe of mediocre behavior.


Yes people are easily dominated by individuals with an authoritarian personality who want to punish things like individualism, critical thinking and logic that conflict with group consensus and harmony. As such, they are enablers of the worst examples of group behavior where groups become vicious and moronic.
Overview: Yes People
Individuals who habitually offer unreasoned positive support to others.
Historically Known As
Yes Men
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