Words are such powerful things and labels can be so very, very dangerous.
So, you are clear-sighted, open-minded and realistic in your worldview. You like to make decisions based upon robust data and you are not afraid of a bit of cut-and-thrust with your team in order to arrive at the best possible decision. You are incisive, questioning and are comfortable to gently challenge the hierarchy for the collective good. I bet you have been labelled as cynical at some point in your career.
Cynic: 1 A person who believes that people are driven purely by self-interest rather than acting out of honourable or unselfish reasons and who is therefore distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. A person who questions whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile. 2 A member of a school of ancient Greek philosophers founded by Antisthenes. Cynics eschewed ease and pleasure.
ORIGIN: popularly taken to mean ‘doglike’ or ‘churlish.’ From Latin cynicus and Greek kunikos [I like the ‘doglike and churlish’ bit particularly.]

How about these thoughts by two very clear-thinking people:

“A cynic is a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.” (Ambrose Bierce)

“If you are not cynical, you’re not paying enough attention.” (Noam Chomsky)

Filthy cynics the pair of them! And don’t even get me started on Mr Bon Mot himself:

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.” (Mark Twain)

Cynic has become a dirty word, particularly in the corporate world and getting stuck with that label can be a career-killer. It’s akin to the word “liberal” in the political arena – notably in the United States.

Liberal: 1 Open to new behaviour or opinions; willing to discard traditional values. 2 Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms. 3 Favouring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform. 4 Given, used or occurring in generous amounts.
ORIGIN: Middle English via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber ‘free (man)’

How could anyone be against such ideas? Take an avowedly anti-liberal worldview to its logical extreme – do you think that we should roll back all advances, paint our backsides blue again and go back to living in trees?

What’s worse: a cynical liberal or a liberal cynic? Discuss.

You have to be sooo careful to avoid negative labelling. In the age of the soundbite, it’s all too easy to allow this to happen. We can all categorise people, put them in boxes or hang labels around their necks – that is an innate human behaviour.

Just don’t let it happen to you …

“The less you know, the more you believe.” (Bono)