Success at Work : People Skills : Complaining
Do you know an individual at work who is a chronic complainer? Are YOU a chronic
complainer? People don't like complainers. Listening to a chronic complainer gets
people depressed. They prefer to associate with people that make them feel good.
If you are always complaining about something, people will start to ignore you.
If you're a chronic complainer, you're sabotaging yourself and your success at work.
In this article, I explain how you can improve your outlook at work and improve your
prospects for success. The first thing you need to do is get in touch with reality.
People are not perfect and you shouldn't expect them to be. An organization is a
group of people, so no company or organization can be perfect. If you expect your
organization to be perfect, you need to change your expectations.
Instead of expecting things to be perfect, expect everything to be totally screwed
up at all times. Then on the rare occasion when something does go right, you will
be pleasantly surprised.
There are many problems that you can't do anything about. Learn to work around the
things you can't change. Some things you can change. Instead of whining and complaining,
take responsibility for a problem you can solve. Don't try to change the world, focus
on improving your own little corner of the company.
You might realize that there are many problems you might be able to solve. Don't
try to solve all the problems at once. Prioritize the things that you view as
problems and choose your battles. Attack the most important problem first.
When you complain, limit your complaint to one problem and be specific. Along with
your complaint, suggest a realistic solution. If you can't think of a realistic solution
to the problem, then how do you expect someone else to solve the problem?
Sometimes it's best to put your complaint in writing. Put your written complaint
aside for a day. Don't submit your complaint until your writing is clear, logical,
and carefully thought out. By the time you finish, you may realize that you didn't
completely understand the problem, or you may decide that the problem isn't worth
complaining about after all.
If your complaint involves a person, avoid attacking that individual. Don't complain
that the individual is stupid or inconsiderate. Complain that what the individual
did was stupid or inconsiderate. If a person works really hard, they might be able to
change how they act, but they can never change who they are.
Complaining about your boss or a higher manager is very dangerous. Don't complain
about the boss to your coworkers. If your boss loses face, the only way to gain
back their self respect may be to fire you. Ask your boss for a private meeting
and discuss the problem in a calm and polite manner.
Whether the person you are complaining about is your boss or a coworker, try to make
some compliments along with the complaint. Everybody has good and bad characteristics.
Make sure the individual understands that you recognize and appreciate their good
characteristics. That person may not realize that anyone thought they had good
characteristics and you may gain a new friend.
Note: Similar to never complaining about your boss to coworkers, a consultant should
never complain about his company to the firm that he is hired out to.
It may be difficult to recognize, but all problems have a good side. Many problems
are opportunities in disguise. Look for the positive side in every problem. Approach
all problems with a sense of humor. If you can find the positives or the humor in
a problem and you make positive statements to your coworkers and your boss, you
will greatly improve your prospects for success at work.