Deal With Constant Complainers
Constant complainers are toxic element of the workplace that sap team morale and productivity, but how can we stamp out their poisonous sniping?
Complain ChronicallyEvery workplace has its chronic complainers. These aren’t constructive complainers, who highlight a problem with an aim to fixing it but who complain for the sake of complaining, without any positive purpose. They are never happy whatever the situation. Whether the boss is clueless, the weather too warm, the work is a waste of time - they strive to find a bad side to everything and then take great pains to point it out to everyone.
Constructive complaining can be a positive force for change in the workplace, but chronic complaining can have the opposite effect – it is a poisonous force that can slowly eat away at team morale and kill productivity.
But how can we deal with these troublesome employees without turfing them out of the office altogether?
Ineffective ResponsesUnlike numerous other irritants, chronic complainers don’t eventually leave you in peace if you ignore them. In fact ignoring or avoiding them will likely have the opposite effect and make them more persistent in their efforts to be heard.
In fact, most of the common responses to constant complaints are largely ineffective to the hardened complainer. Trying to cheer them up by remarking that ‘it isn’t all that bad’, or offering some ‘try this’ solutions to their problems, or simply telling them to just stop complaining and pull themselves together – they all won’t do much good. Constant complainers are a notoriously difficult species to tame.
Positive Complaint HandlingRather than ignoring, suppressing or avoiding constant complaints, the key to dealing with serial moaners is to welcome their complaints with open ears. The workplace should become a place where ALL complaints are given equal attention and consideration. Employees should be made to feel that if they have a problem with something then there will always be someone who will listen to what they have to say.
Too often chronic complainants moan because they know nobody with any authority is listening to them and taking their gripes seriously. They complain to their fellow colleagues but wouldn’t dare take up the issue with their boss or team leader.
If a climate of open discussion is promoted, where all complainants feel their problems are being heard then any unconstructive sniping will be exposed for what it is. If they are even aired at all – as well as being taken aback by this tactic, chronic complainers are often even silenced by it.
Supervisors, team leaders or other authority figures should listen to the complaint fully and then ask what the complainant what they want done and how they would improve things. You should make clear what you can and can’t do in your position and then, if possible, work towards a satisfactory solution.
Complaint Handling In The WorkplaceFor chronic complaints to be weeded out of the workplace it is important that fellow employees know how to deal with the negative element in their team.
Employees should resist the urge to join in on moaning sessions and agree with the complainer, even if they sympathise with some of the issues raised. Such negative forces grow stronger and more harmful the more people it draws in.
On the other hand, if you disagree with the complainant then it is unwise to argue with them. You should listen to their opinion carefully and then, if necessary, state where you stand on the issue, without making any rash judgements about what is right or wrong.