Tired of the groaners and moaners in your workplace? Do you find yourself complaining about all the complainers? Most teams wrestle with this issue. Unfortunately, it's never as simple as just telling people "to stop being so negative."
One way to minimize the negative energy at work is to train and coach employees on how to explain, rather than complain. There are, after all, legitimate concerns in the workplace that need to be heard, but some employees just don't know how to express their concerns in a constructive way. Shifting from a mindset of "I'm going to explain" my feelings or position on an issue instead of complain about it, creates a more positive frame of reference.
I've posted a longer article with some additional thoughts on this topic and a summary of the differences between a complaining approach vs.an explaining approach: From Complaining to Explaining.
Mike's Fun at Work Tip
Have a "whine and cheese" social once a month with your leadership team to allow employees to raise questions or concerns they have about the workplace. Yes, this dwells on the negative, and yes, you absolutely need to celebrate and talk about what isworking at work, not encourage more griping about what's not working. The point of the whine and cheese social though is threefold. First, it lets employees know that there is a forum they can rely on to bring forward any concerns. Second, by providing a regularly scheduled outlet you can hopefully minimize the day-to-day negativity by asking everyone to save it until thesocial. And third, by creating a more relaxed, even fun atmosphere, employees and leaders may be more inclined to be more open. The key to success is to make the forum fun, while still taking employees' concerns seriously. So hold the conversation (and that's what it should be viewed as) in a relaxed, neutral setting, open up with a fun icebreaker, and even include door prizes for the most "exaggerated whine" or for the best solution to "bottle the whine."
If you give employees a regular voice, and sincerely listen to and act on their concerns, then with each passing month the amount of "whine" flowing in your workplace will slow to a trickle, and then you can break out the bubbly!
Quote of the Week
"I must be getting
absent‑minded. Whenever I complain that things aren't what they used to be, I always forget to include
myself." George Burns
It's a Wacky World
The town of Evansburg, Alberta, has had an official Town Grouch since 1974. Each summer, residents of this small town (population: 603 humans, 29 dogs, 41 cats, 1 grouch) campaign for the honor. The winning grouch is allowed the privilege of unlimited groaning, griping and complaining for an entire year.
This year's winner, Margaret Hodgkinson, immediately complained that her new role as Town Grouch will just add to her already immense workload, thus proving a worthy recipient of the award.