Complainers tend to discover problems with everything from how untidy your work area is to the temperature outside. The camouflaged message behind all this fuss is that “someone,” as a rule meaning you, should be doing something about these problems.It is essential to distinguish between Complainers and others who have genuine issues or want to discuss how to solve them. A particular type of complainer is what the author calls “The Triangular Complainer,” They come to you and complain about other people, usually managers or supervisors or other people you know or don’t know.
Complainers continue in their behavior since complaining keeps them appearing blameless and ethically correct, at least in their own eyes, and tell you, “I’ve done all I can. I’ve brought this to your attention now, and told you that it’s wrong. Now it’s up to you.”
Coping with complainers
- Listen mindfully to their complaints even if you feel blameworthy or impatient.
- Acknowledge what they’re saying by rewording and checking your recognition of how they feel about it.
- Don’t concur with or apologize for their allegations even in case you acknowledge them to be true.
- Avoid the accusation-defense-reaccusation pattern.
- State and recognize realities without comment.
- Try to move to a problem-solving manner by asking specific, informational questions. Assigning restricted fact-finding tasks. Asking for the complaints in writing, but be genuine and steady about it.
- If all else falls flat, ask the Complainer: “How do you need this talk to end?”