Are you a complainer?

Do you spend most of your work time griping about almost everything in the organisation? You complain that the temperature in the office is too hot and when the temperature level on the air conditioning unit is adjusted you complain that it is too cold. Today you commend the chef at the canteen for a “wicked” stew peas but tomorrow you want him fired because the chicken chop suey was not to your suiting. You complain that management doesn’t care about the workers and when they plan a staff family day you are noticeably absent. You bad mouth the company and complain how disgusting the place is but yet you refuse to leave.

What is the profile of the complainer?

He/she is usually someone who has an axe to grind. He/she may have been passed over for a vacant position and choose to express his/her discontent by being negative to any and everything. This individual tends to be a mischief maker as he/she attempts to mobilize other staff members to join in the griping. He/she is driven by a desire to create disharmony and strife.

Most of us would rather not associate with the complainers but the truth is every organisation has at least two such persons.

How should co workers treat with the complainer?

  • Don’t be influenced by the complainers to bash the organization
  • Take a stand and make your position clear regardless of the backlash from the complainer and his/her confederates
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree with the stance taken by the complainer
  • Challenge the complainer to be fair, honest and objective in his/her comments
  • At the risk of being labeled as a sell out to management, stay true to your stated position
  • Avoid unnecessary confrontation with the complainer particular when he/she is in the company of others

How should management treat with the complainer?

  • Recognise that the complainer has some issues with the organisation and this his/her way of registering his/her displeasure
  • Listen to his/her concern and pick sense from nonsense
  • Recognise that the complainer strives in an atmosphere of discord and so will do his/her best to engender hostility
  • Don’t attempt to confront the complainer in public they are at their best when they have an audience
  • If you want to get through to the complainer speak with him/her privately without the gallery looking on

A word to the complainer

  • If you have an issue with the organization choose the appropriate time and place to address the issue
  • Be fair, not everything the organisation does is bad, give credit where credit is due
  • Give thanks for small mercies. If you get a small bonus instead of complaining that it is too small, give thanks because some workers in other organizations get nothing
  • Be mindful of the negative impact you have on others, particularly the junior staff members
  • Be the change you would want to see in the organisation
  • Don’t just complain, offer a workable suggestion/solution
  • Rid yourself of the us and them notion. If you subscribe to this notion you will always be complaining against the “thems
  • Your constant complaining might cost you upward move in the organisation
  • Your reputation as a complainer will precede you and people will deliberately leave you out of committees and work teams
  • Your constant griping can have a demoralizing effect on the morale of the staff. Management nay not feel encouraged to provide certain benefits as they feel that their efforts may not be appreciated
  • After a while you will stand alone as no wants to be around a negative person for long

About the Author: 
Wayne A. Powell is a human resource professional. You may contact him at [email protected] or at his  website.