Stop the Complaining at Work!

Are you tired of workplace drama?  Would you like to nip complaining in the bud but still show that you are listening?  How would you like 3 simple techniques to help you do just that?

Marlene Chism, author of Stop the Workplace Drama, shared 3 techniques at the end of a recent teleseminar:

1. Technique #1 Four Words

When people are complaining and want to draw you into their drama, let them know that you hear them and understand what they’re saying, but get them into positive problem-solving mode by asking, “What do you want?” as in, “I hear what you’re saying.  Here’s my question:  What do you want?” (said with no eye-rolling or raised voice, but with respect).

2. Technique #2 Empowerment Technique

Get people out of the victim mode and get yourself out of the rescue mode by asking, “What are your choices?”  It may take a while to get people out of the mindset of running to you to solve their problems, but empower them by asking this question.

3. Technique #3 Collaboration Technique

Encourage collaboration in problem solving by asking, “Are you willing to . . .” type questions, such as “Are you willing to think about your choices and come back at 2 pm to talk about them?”

If a person is not willing to do something, then there would be some sort of consequences resulting from that choice.  For example, if you say, “Are you willing to come in 5 minutes early to make sure that you can be at your desk on time?” and the person says “No,”  then a consequence might be loss of the job after a certain number of  late starts.

Create movement toward employee empowerment with these three phrases when people complain:

“What do you want?”

“What are your choices?

“Are you willing to . . .”

Try them out at work, at home and in your volunteer organizations!


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

3 Responses to Stop the Complaining at Work!

  1. This is excellent advice! I like that it starts with questions and gets people to bring about their own solutions for drama in the workplace.

  2. Liza Vassallo says:

    Thank you for sharing, the other side of drama is complete neglect because people fear creating chaos or pointing out problems. Sometimes people even withhold information to save the day and expect things to fall apart. Trustbuilding is not always a priority for members of team because they are insecure because they believe that they are dispensible so they make work more difficult. Technology is taking out the middle man and has empowered each user to process quickly; on one side of the token; its great but on the other side; people lose jobs because processes become more efficient and people have not enhanced their skills and their skills are becoming obsolete.

  3. Pingback: Stop the Complaining at Work! | Michael Esplana

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