Monday, September 24, 2012

Whining in the Workplace

I have talked to you about Communication for Results and now I would like to talk about a dicey subject that I feel has a negative effect on all of us – complaining in the workplace.

I recently came across an article entitled: What to Do With a Workplace Whiner. The article points out that although this is something that every office has to deal with; the question is how to deal with it.

What I found most interesting about this article were the findings that state, “Exposure to non-stop negativity can disrupt learning, memory, attention and judgment." says Robert Sapolsky, an author and professor of neurological sciences at Stanford University. Needless to say, all of these elements will have an adverse effect on one's motivation level, and before you know it you are just watching the clock for your shift to be over.

Here are some suggestions from the article that I felt would be helpful if everyone started applying:

• Don’t just nod & listen – encourage the person who is upset to talk directly to the source of the gripe.

• Change the subject by asking what is going well.

• Ask the complainer what he or she intends to do about the problem.

• If you are stuck listening to a complainer, retreat mentally and imagine yourself in a peaceful place.

Offering some constructive suggestions instead of complaining will go a lot further. The article gives an example about an employee who constantly complained about having to travel, until a fellow colleague responded, “What are you going to do about it? Come to me with a solution.” It prompted the complainer to come up with a plan to limit face to face visits to customers with the highest sales potential The results, from this approach were that sales went up and that employee was able to spend more time with family.

Maybe your suggestions to your workplace problems won't be this simple, however the power of feeling heard may bring something new to light.

Doesn’t that sound better than complaining?