Blog #626 Chronic Complainers

No Complaining…/7-ways-deal-chronic-compl…

Yesterday I commented on John Wooden’s statement – no whining, no complaining, no excuses.

Today – no complaining. (or … no chronic complaning)

The link says “no one likes complainers”.

“For chronic complainers, each situation becomes an opportunity to find fault. Eventually, this drains life of pleasure. Chronic complaining can also affect mood by producing a negative mood state. Thus the chronic complainer falls into a perpetual cycle of finding fault, feeling negative, and then being unable to face the next situation with an open mind. Eventually, the capacity for feeling joy is compromised.”

Some other comments from the article:
-1 You see the chronic complainer coming and you roll your eyes. If the person is looking, you have just built a wall between you. If you are a boss, (and the complainer is under you), the rapport you need for an effective working relationship has been broken.

-2 Do more than listen. The chronic complainer is like a kid with a temper tantrum and wants attention. Everybody (else) wants to ignore the person (‘he is a chronic complainer – don’t let him get you down’). But the article suggests that we listen to the person – really listen. He may have been put down so much, that his only avenue is to complain (at least in his brain). Listen to the person – give him attention – hear him out. You might actually help him face his chronic complaining by listening to him.

-3 Have the complainer write it down. Complainers will frequently go on-and-on. Give them a piece of paper and have them carefully and thoughtfully write out the complaint. Then you can ask “what else”. They can’t go back to the same complaint – it is written down.

-4 Poise a question like “Let’s imagine that this problem has somehow been fixed. How do you feel?’ This tends to get them to think of moving on. This gets them to a ‘pre-satisfied’ state. Maybe they aren’t quite satisfied, but now they are thinking of moving on.

-5 Get them to think more positively (and not by telling them they are negative!!). If you tell a toddler (who is having a tantrum) that they are whining and complaining, they will say “I’m not”. Maybe focus on the solution “How can WE solve this problem.” Give the complainer to think as a teammate “WE”. Maybe they will come back with “Well, YOU can do <something>” and then come back to them – “I asked for something WE can do – you need to help me with this”. Let them think of a solution – or jointly think of a solution. Now they might try to dodge this – (hey, they enjoy complaining more than solving!!!). Maybe “I don’t have any ideas on how to solve this”. The author suggests asking “If you did have ideas what would you say?” or “If you had a magic wand, how would you solve this?” Get them to start thinking of solutions – not the problem.

-6 Ask – “On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to solving this”. If they give a ten, then say “What then should be our first step to this solution?” If they don’t give a ten, ask them why it wasn’t a ten “After all, you took your time to complain about this, but you only gave it a rating of a ‘3’. That must not be too serious – we can problem live with a ‘3’ problem don’t you think?”

-7 Give them something to DO to work on the complaint. They maybe have suggested a solution, let them research it and see if it can be implemented.

Unfortunately, the complaints often are about somebody else. “Tom bothers me at work. I can’t stand him”. Have the person write it down; then work on the ‘How can WE solve this?”

The heart is that some people are chronic complainers and just need somebody to listen to them – do that. Work on joint solutions, get them involved. Maybe, just maybe, you can work that specific complaint out and by listening to and with them, you can start them on the positive road.

Tomorrow – no excuses!!!


Posted by Bruce White

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