The No Complaining Rule
If you were to put a dollar amount around how much mindless complaining costs you each year, what would be the amount? How much of your time is spent fielding complaints from employees? Do they also come with potential solutions? How much of your time do you complain about your complaining employees? In managing employees, how do you deal with all of the complaints?
If you were invisible and able to listen to conversations around you, you would hear that most people complain….including yourself. Is it human nature to complain or just a learned behavior? In my years of working in Human Resources, I often felt that people believed they were suppose to complain, their right for having to work, and a need to belong to the group. Few people take ownership of their discomforts and seek out potential solutions. Here is something I learned about my complaining self.
Many years ago, while working at a technology company, we had a CFO who consulted with us on a regular base. I worked closely with her because I was handling the human resources, administration and finances of the company. I liked her and was comfortable sharing my thoughts around the many issues going on in the company. The company was going through several different challenges and I was the point person to handling a lot of them. One day, she said to me “Pat, how can I help you? You seem unhappy and have many complaints about what is not working in the company.” I wasn’t aware that I was complaining and her feedback was a gift, because at that moment I made a different choice. My choice was to become aware of my complaints, even those internal thoughts that I don’t share, and decide to find solutions to my complaints or let them go.
Recently I was sent this great little book “The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work” by Jon Gordon. Stories are a great way for most of us to learn. In this book, the author uses the story form to present simple, yet powerful tools to help yourself and your employees start to handle the chronic complaining that exists in businesses today. They provide some staggering examples of the cost of negativity within the work environment. Complaining impacts team productivity, increases medical costs and you can lose customers.
The story evolves around one company dealing with poor production and negative publicity. How they found the right solutions to their issues by instituting a simple rule: No Complaining. The author doesn’t imply that all complaining goes to the wayside, but rather the elimination of the chronic complaints that propagate the work environment with negativity. There is difference between the chronic complainers who have no intention of coming up with potential solutions, and the employee who brings a problem to your attention and proactively offers solutions to the problem.
The book may be an easy read, yet I enjoyed the radical aspect of the author’s intention. We all complain about complaining but few of us are willing to create a ‘No Complaining Rule’ for our employees or ourselves. The author even helps you start small in their chapter on “The Complaining Fast.” Read the book if you want to learn how to decrease complaining and increase productivity with your employees.
For every complaint you listen to or create, you lose a little more of your time. How much is your time worth?
How To Increase The Results