Heera Training and Management Consultancy

eNewsletter July 2011

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? I know I say this almost every month, but yes, I have been up to my neck with work. May, June and July have traditionally been very, very busy months. I was in the north in Penang, right up to the south in Johore Bahru, and I will be in Brunei for the next two weeks. I have also been watching the Wimbledon championships. I am rooting for Djokovic (if I don’t, I will be declared persona non grata in my home by my wife) and Sharapova (she brings glamour and class to the tournament - the halo effect).

This month I want to talk about a phenomenon that all of us do not like but which occurs quite regularly in all organizations i.e. the persistent or chronic complainer. These are people who complain about everything from the weather to the traffic to the facilities in the company. For these people, everything is better on the other side of the fence. Sadly, they never make any attempt to go to the other side or else when they do, they continue to complain that the other side is even worse than this side. These people only seem to see the negatives about everything in life to their own detriment.

There are two things we must always remember about these complainers:

    1. Firstly, they are NEVER, EVER happy or satisfied.
    2. Secondly, they will NEVER run out of things to complain about.

They could win the lottery tomorrow and yet complain that they would now be potential victims of extortionists or they could win a luxury car in a lucky draw and then still complain about the high cost of maintaining them.

I am of the view that these chronic complainers are very negative because they are generally unsatisfied or have problems with their own personal lives. They suffer from this phenomenon called ‘negativity’. They can't seem to have peace of mind until someone listens to and acknowledges their negative concerns. And in the process they take away all of your energy and enthusiasm and tend to make people around them unhappy at work. This can be contagious and one chronic complainer can easily lower the morale of an entire department. Hence it is something that has to be dealt with effectively at the workplace.

Here are five tips to help you handle complainers.

    • Never agree with the complaints of the complainer. This will be taken by them as an invitation to complain more.
    • Don’t try to solve their problems. Every solution you offer will only be met by more excuses, grumbles and complaints.
    • Always ask them open-ended questions designed to get them thinking about the problem. For example, “So what do you think you can do about it?" "So how come you are still in the company?' "So why haven't you gone to see your boss about it?" These questions will serve to put the responsibility for changing their situations squarely in their laps.
    • Set a time limit. Tell them something like, "I need to go in a few minutes, so how can I help you before I go." Usually after this, it makes it easier for you to disengage from the conversation.
    • Finally when all else fails, tell them face to face that you do not enjoy conversations with them as you do not like to only hear negativity. They may not like it but I assure you they will not complain to you anymore in the future. And if they get offended, better still because then they will go find someone else to complain about you!!! Either way, at least they are no longer complaining to you anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do hope I have in a small way increased your management knowledge and your skills as an effective employee at the workplace. Till my August newsletter, have a great month ahead and do take care.