Today’s Thought Partner may be slightly controversial and if so, disagreement is productive as well.
Let’s see how you feel after reading. Drop me a note with your thoughts.
The title of today’s Thought Partner is Encourage Complaining. Seriously.
Complaining gets a bad rap. Complaining is not always the barrier to progress and productivity we think it is. Complaining in order to discover solutions is useful. And….complaining needs limits.
If you feel there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction or disquiet or sorts among your team, in your meeting room, or with one of your clients, open the floor and encourage a “free zone”. Essentially, give permission to complain by saying: “What is it you need to say or do you need to unburden yourself?”
Getting something off your chest provides space to reflect and choose a new path on the issue. Be clear that you are not offering to create a solution for this person or the team, simply that you are there to listen to what’s on their mind.
Put a time limit on this exercise! I’m not advocating you provide an endless amount of time for moaning and groaning, and feel free to jump in with a timely well-crafted, “As I understand it, you are saying, xyz….What do you want and how can we help?“
Complaining is like eating a donut. One donut makes you feel good, for a minute, and two donuts make you feel sick for a long time.
Complaining can be productive when it’s in small doses, needed to clear the air, and limited so it won’t make you sick.