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7 Tips to deal with constant complainers in your office!

by , 14 March 2016
I'm sure you're nodding your head and smiling... And you know exactly what I mean when I say there are days where employees seem to be complaining about everything. And, as the saying goes, misery loves company. And this could mean big problems for small businesses!


Because it can bring down employee morale, affect employee productivity and retention. And, in the end, it will trickle down to your customers. This means sub-standard service to your clients and a mass decline in your sales!

Don't ignore him! You need to put a stop to it now! Here are 7 tips to do just that...

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7 Tips to stop the negativity from ruining your company culture

1. Schedule a sit-down. Don't address chronic complainers in the hallway or let them just drop by your office to discuss an issue. If you hear an employee complaining, invite him in for a formal meeting. Set a specific time limit for the meeting , no more than 15 minutes. State this up front and stick to it.

2. Express empathy. This is the most important step. This is because complainers just want you to hear them and typically present a problem that doesn't have a short-term or easy solution. Being sympathetic to their point of view doesn't mean you need to agree with them.

3. Show appreciation. After listening to the complaint, thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. Make no judgement on the validity of the issue if you believe they're wrong.

4. No cheering up. Don't waste time trying to convince the complainer that things aren't as bad as they seem. Or that whatever they're concerned about really isn't an issue. You won't change their mind set in one short meeting. It's very possible they may live their life from a 'complaining' viewpoint.

5. Ask for a solution. Require that every complaint come with a realistic solution from the complainer. If it's about another person, ask them to talk directly to them and not involve you. Ask if they can solve the problem themselves without your intervention. Above all, don't take responsibility for solving their issue.

6. Ask if they want your opinion. It may be a surprise that they actually don't want a solution. Most chronic complainers just want you to hear them. And aren't serious about solving their problem.

7. Distract them. Get them to move on from the complaint by talking about other things going on in the office. A change of conversation is a way to get the complainer to focus on something else.

Keep reading for 3 more tips…
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Try these tips, the next time your moaning employee starts complaining

  1. Communicate with your staff about the kind of behaviour you won't tolerate. Add 'softer' issues into performance evaluations e.g. attitude and approach to workplace challenges. That way complaining and negativity become part of their performance assessment, and they'll be more likely to only complain for valid reasons.
  2. Acknowledge complaints without indulging or reinforcing the negativity. Be objective and stick to the complaint and not the emotion.
  3. Involve your employee to solve his gripe. Ask him 'What do you propose we do?'

I tried tip number 3 last week, and it worked for me. She hasn't complained since.

These tips may not always work, but they will help dissipate the complainer's ill feelings from spreading to other employees. If the complainer can't stop complaining, it may be time to ask the employee, 'Would you be happier working somewhere else?'

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