Do you have someone in your organization who constantly is displaying a “woe is me” or “I don’t like this” attitude? Perhaps you have a perennial malcontent on your hands.
Do you have someone who likes to stir up everyone, for no other purpose than to draw attention to themself? You have a pretend activist on your hands.
Dealing with these two types of personalities can be delicate, time consuming, and draining. However, following some sound principles can prevent either of these characters from becoming more of a problem than they should.
By following solid coaching and counseling procedures, you can keep track of someone’s concerns and issues. Identifying patterns can be much easier if you keep track of what the perennial malcontent’s concerns are, and whether they are signs of an organizational ill or just someone complaining for the sake of doing so.
Likewise, when there appears to be someone who is raising a stink just for the sake of doing so, channel that persone effectively by using their talents and skills to your advantage. If you find that the pretend activist actually has the ear of their peers, you may want to use them to spread “actual” news vs the gossip that they usually share.
Share your stories of Perennial Malcontents and Pretend Activists by emailing me at