I’m not a fan of complaining, either doing it or hearing about it, especially in a work context. I think it can be useful and have value by helping you clear your thoughts and feelings on a matter but I think the value ends there.
Personally, I find when I complain that whilst, temporarily I feel better in getting something off my chest, about 10minutes later, I’m still concerned about the problem that I was initially compaining about. This is not really a cool thing. More often than not, I actually find it puts me in a worse mood.
At work, when I hear my colleagues complain about something, especially when they’ve already had a whinge about it previously, it grates on my ears and it shows me a lack of professionalism and initiative. The guys at my work, who are good at their job will approach me with a complaint but do so in a consultative capacity and with a solution in mind. They consult me to get buy in on their solution and the complaint is only the evidence rather than topic.
So far, the message I’ve thrown out there, has been that complaining is bad but I will contradict myself by saying that if a friend or relative comes to you to have a whinge, then I’d say, it should be welcomed and discussed.
I think the principal behind it should generally be to use it to work out a way of resolving the core problem. From the context of hearing a complaint, the approach should be to gently guide the person to a solution but by no means to outline the solution yourself (warning, girlfriends don’t like it when you do this!). If work schmoe Joe comes and complains to you about something then I’d prescribe a similar approach but I’d be less hesitant in stating what should be done to fix the problem.
To sum up, before the ‘c-bomb’ drops, close the hangar doors and think about what’s causing the complaint.
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