Where do workplace dinosaurs come from?
A coaching client relayed to me her boss’s latest sermon. On the one hand, this CEO was telling my client that she was his best executive. In his words she was, “the heart and soul of the operation.” Then, with no sense of contradiction, he offered, “You need to be more intimidating. People should fear you.” No kidding. Apparently managing an impossible workload with no resources isn’t enough, you should also be a jerk! As my client continued, she described his typical pep talk, which included plenty of misquotes from famous authors and patronizing, paternalistic pseudo-flattery to accompany his 30-year old management philosophy. Without thinking, I blurted, “He is such a dinosaur!” My outburst could have been the end of it. But as I walked away I started wondering, “If he’s a dinosaur, what kind is he?”
Other questions followed, such as “How would you recognize others like him? Where do you find them? What do they say? How does one deal with this dinosaur, especially when you’re on the wrong side of a power differential?” And most frighteningly, “What if I am one?”
Thus, was hatched the first fully-formed Blusterous Pontifucs. He was followed quickly by his more dangerous cousin, Conivus Conspiridon, and the ultimate dinosaur supporting character, Sweetasaurus Maximus. After further study I uncovered six more workplace dinosaur archetypes that have appeared and reappeared throughout my career. Follow this link to Amazon to check out my new book, Never Trust a Happy Dinosaur. See if you can match real people to all nine dinosaur archetypes.
I know I can.