I recently read a book titled 'The Grumpy Old Gits Guide To Life.' It is a humourous book and fun to read. This got me thinking though about our workplaces. Most companies have them, grumpy old men and grumpy old women. These are what I term the patriarchs and matriarchs. These are important people in your organisation, they can make or break a business.
Here are the 10 signs that you have a patriarch or matriarch in your organisation;
- They never miss a chance to moan.
- They sigh a lot or look out the window during training sessions.
- They always want someone independent with them during performance meetings.
- They often involve the union, not for support but as a threat.
- They have been there and done that, with a story for every occasion.
- They resist change, "why change when things are going fine".
- They can be found at the water cooler spreading rumours.
- They never volunteer for anything but will criticise when things go wrong.
- They have a strong influence over the junior staff.
- They have their own coffee mug at work.
If you are reading this and can't think of anyone that fits this profile in your company then it may be you who is the patriarch or matriarch! So how do you manage these people? Involve them. Put them on your project committees, here's the reasons why;
- They have wonderful institutional maturity and knowledge.
- They have seen many changes and can tell you what worked and what didn't.
- Although they are grumpy and like to be the centre of attention, they are also don't want to be seen as the 'peacock'. They don't posses the 'look at me' factor, they just do their job despite the grumbles.
- They will counter group-think by arguing against all suggestions, this will stop the project going down the wrong path.
- They mitigate strong personalities therefore one or two people won't have all of the say on the project team.
- Being part of the team will encourage them to support the change.
Remember to only have one matriarch or patriarch on each project team otherwise you may not achieve what you are after.
Value the grumpy old men and grumpy old women in your organisation, they have a lot to offer.