The Gruntled Manager

Lately there have been a lot of “disgruntled” people.

Just yesterday the president was calling someone he disagreed with “nothing but a disgruntled employee”. Employees who feel they aren’t getting enough personal protection equipment are dismissed as just disgruntled. The people who complained about hostile working environments at various tech companies? Disgruntled.

dis·​grun·​tled | \ dis-ˈgrən-tᵊld  \ unhappy and annoyed


Yep, they are disgruntled. They are unhappy and annoyed.

You know who’s fault that almost always is? Their leadership. Their boss. Their smug, gruntled manager.

They are disgruntled almost always because they aren’t being heard. Because they have concerns or issues that they’ve tried repeatedly to get addressed. And time and again, they are ignored.

The solution isn’t to just dismiss them further. You can’t just hand-wave them off. Calling them “simply disgruntled” doesn’t absolve you of a problem. It isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card.

No, you don’t have to bend to do everything they want. But you have to listen.

You know what doesn’t help? Dismissing them. Smiling in their face. Being gruntled.

The solution is to hear them out. To honestly listen to what they’re having problems with. To make them really feel like you care.

No, you don’t have to bend to do everything they want. But you have to listen.

Because nine times out of ten, if someone is heard, they stop being disgruntled. Stop being annoyed. Even if it doesn’t end up going their way. At least they were heard.

Stop dismissing people out of hand with “they’re simply disgruntled”. Because yes, they are. Often for good reason.