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bashful  |  dopey  |  sleepy  |  sneezy  |  doc  |  grumpy  |  happy


Some Strengths which Grumpy may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Likes to see things running smoothly and systematically
  • Values competence, efficiency, and likes to see quick results
  • Take charge people, knowing what they expect and having no tolerance for those who don't give it to them
  • Self confident and assertive
  • Need to know what the standards are for any assignment so that they can meet their expectations

How do you know when you have a Grumpy in your meeting?

  • Tends to sit opposite the leader
  • Often disagrees or says, "No"
  • May sit with arms crossed backed away from table
  • Looks annoyed, mild sneer, raised eyebrow
  • Negatively critical or judgmental of whatever is being tested as well as other group members' ideas
  • Suspicious and distrustful
  • May be argumentative and hard to control

Some Difficult Behaviors which Grumpy may exhibit in a Group Meeting:

  • Avoids expressing real thoughts and feelings because he is too busy arguing.
  • Fights for leadership of the group
  • Makes others feel uncomfortable about their opinions
  • Overpowers the group

Assumed Feelings Underlying BOTH Strengths and Weaknesses for Grumpy:

  • Afraid of not being liked
  • Wants to be seen as a "good boy"
  • Desperately needs attention, but afraid to give over control or power of rejection to another person/authority
  • Longs to be part of the group but afraid of being engulfed
  • Defiantly asserts his independence

How to Leverage Grumpy Strengths:

  • Create a situation where they will see logical results
  • Likes to work on specific assignments and organize them by a series of steps and imagining appropriate resources
  • Grumpys make great leaders of debate teams. Utilize them as a resource to marshal support for a particular argument or sales pitch.

Potential Interventions to Diffuse Grumpy Problems:

  • Enlist his help/give him a task like handing out paper
  • Give praise
  • Restate his hostile question or comment and open it to the group
  • Stand to his left
  • If necessary, anchor silence
  • Decrease eye contact

General Description of Grumpy Personality:

Grumpys live in a world of facts and concrete needs. They live in the present, with their eye constantly scanning their personal environment to make sure that everything is running smoothly and systematically. They honor traditions and laws, and have a clear set of standards and beliefs. They expect the same of others, and have no patience or understanding of individuals who do not value these systems. They value competence and efficiency, and like to see quick results for their efforts.

Grumpys are take-charge people. They have such a clear vision of the way that things should be, that they naturally step into leadership roles. They are self-confident and aggressive. They are extremely talented at devising systems and plans for action, and at being able to see what steps need to be taken to complete a specific task. They can sometimes be very demanding and critical, because they have such strongly held beliefs, and are likely to express themselves without reserve if they feel someone isn't meeting their standards. But at least their expressions can be taken at face-value, because Grumpy is extremely straight-forward and honest.

Grumpy needs to watch out for the tendency to be too rigid, and to become overly detail-oriented. Since they put a lot of weight in their own beliefs, it's important that they remember to value other people's input and opinions. If they neglect their Feeling side, they may have a problem with fulfilling other's needs for intimacy, and may unknowingly hurt people's feelings by applying logic and reason to situations which demand more emotional sensitivity.

When bogged down by stress, Grumpy often feels isolated from others. They feel as if they are misunderstood and undervalued, and that their efforts are taken for granted. Grumpy's verbal comments can be devaluing of others, further isolating him from the group.

Grumpy will dutifully do everything that is important to work towards a particular cause or goal, although they might not naturally see or value the importance of goals which are outside of their practical scope. However, if Grumpy is able to see the relevance of such goals to practical concerns, he will try to understand them and become cooperative in a team meeting's process.


To read descriptions of the other Dwarf Personalities, choose an appropriate link below:
bashful  |  dopey  |  sleepy  |  sneezy  |  doc  |  grumpy  |  happy

read more about general tips and techniques for creating an encouraging, supportive atmosphere for all participants in a group meeting.


About The Author
Dr. Sharon Livingston

Sharon Livingston, Ph.D. is founder and Co-President of The Looking Glass and Executive Solutions, Inc. Articles either about or by Dr. Livingston have appeared in The New York Times (several times - see 5/6/01 Long Island edition), Marketing News, Communication World, Adweek, The Washington Post, The Daily News, Newsday, Advertising and Communication Times, The American Bar Association Journal, Delta Sky, Discover, Beverage World, U.S. News and World Report, Quirks Marketing Review, and Winners. Her work has been referenced in The Group Depth Interview, a book published by Prentice-Hall, and Beyond Mind Games a book published by American Demographics. She has addressed gatherings of the American Marketing Association, the Advertising Research Foundation, the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Society, Qualitative Research Consultant Association, Marketing Research Associaiton, The Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, Professional Marketing Research Society of Canada and the Sales Executive Clubs. Dr. Livingston holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.A. in Organizational Behavior and a PhD in Clinical Psychology, has had extensive training in creative ideation procedures, group dynamics, applied psychological techniques and projective methods. She is currently on the Qualitative Research Council of the Advertising Research Foundation, is a current and founding member of QRCA - the Qualitative Research Consultant Association; a founding member of FFA - the Focus Facility Association, and is also a member of the American Marketing Association, and the National Association of Female Executives.



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The Snow White Dwarf paradigm for group members is only one of dozens of easy to remember and easy to use group facilitation methods taught by Executive Solutions Inc. To learn more about our acclaimed group moderator/facilitator training courses, please visit or and click on one of our training links.


Interested in seeing Dr. Sharon Livingston present her theory of Dwarf personalities, or being trained to utilize this theory in person? Visit our main conference site or moderator training site at your convenience.

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