What to do about whiners

Accentuate the positive with Snide Sam and Complaining Christine

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

by "Z"

The other day, I overheard employees chatting in the hall. One said, "At least it's Wednesday. Only two days till the weekend.” Another added, "Yeah, I can't wait to say TGIF.”

Those kinds of comments stamp you as a loser. It's sad that some people live for the weekends. I'm not deluded enough to think everyone should love every minute here. Work isn't always fun. It's especially hard on folks who don't have, shall we say, the most stimulating jobs.

Still, the words you use make a difference. They tell others—including the managers who hand out promotions— what you're made of. If you're going to call attention to how much you hate your job, you're only going to make yourself miserable.

Keep negativity from infecting your workplace: Dealing with whiners, troublemakers, pessimists and other difficult employees

Fix it or shut up

We all get frustrated. I understand when someone groans because things go wrong.

Griping is another story. Negativity breeds negativity. That's why I can't stand employees who have a smug, cynical air about them. They harp on problems, accuse others and make snide remarks. They roll their eyes at how dumb management is or what fools the customers are or how gross the new art in the lobby looks.

These people can be nice if they want to. They're also pretty good workers. But they snipe first and think later. And what comes out works against them.

It's impossible to change someone's personality. But I've found it is possible to change the way someone talks. Here's an example. One of my supervisors constantly reminded anyone who'd listen how much he disliked his job, wished he could retire, looked forward to fishing on Sunday ... blah, blah, blah.

I told him, "You need to adjust your attitude. If something's bothering you, I'm not saying you should keep it to yourself. Try this: Whenever you're tempted to complain, I want you to offer up at least one step you can take to solve or address the problem.”

This "solve it or shove it” approach seems to work. He knows if he can't come up with a solution, he better keep quiet.

Banishing workplace negativity increases productivity, decreases turnover and boosts morale. Imagine how that will make you look as a manager. Learn how to Keep Negativity From Infecting Your Workplace

Take a pass on griping

Watch how CEOs react to what others say. If they hear whining, they don't whine back. They'll ignore it, redirect the conversation or leave. Enlightened leaders don't sit around moping or finger-pointing or clock-watching.

The next time you're around someone who's bitching, rise above it. Don't acknowledge it. Talk business, gather information or highlight something positive. Use words like "on the bright side” or "more importantly,” and change the subject. If none of this works, the most valuable use of your time is to walk away.

The downside of uplift

You might sacrifice some popularity among your peers if you don't join in their bellyaching. They may scoff when you say "I'm having fun” or "I can't believe it's 5 already.”

I had a boss years ago who almost dared me to be negative. He'd lambaste his job, his higher-ups and the company. Then he'd look at me as if to say, "OK, I'm done. You start.”

But I didn't want to. So I'd say, "I can see why you feel that way,” or just shrug. I didn't see anything to gain by railing against my job.

He never liked me. Which is just as well, actually, because within a year he was fired and I got his job.

Each month, "Z” offers insights into what it really takes to get ahead. This 25-year veteran of the corporate battlefield has climbed the ranks to head a $100 million information services company. We have agreed to protect Z's identity in return for his promise to hold nothing back.

Keep Negativity From Infecting Your Workplace

When confronted with employees who complain, criticize or try to stir up trouble, managers often feel frustrated and helpless. They may quickly assume that there is no way to change these "personality problems,” so they just do their best to contain the damage. However, tolerating such harmful behaviors is definitely NOT the smartest strategy.

Chronic negativity frequently starts with only one or two employees, but it can quickly infect an entire department. When this happens, the inevitable result is reduced productivity, damaged morale, and eventually increased turnover, so wise managers try to nip negativity in the bud.

Order this 75-minute recording now and you'll learn specific strategies for combating negativity in your group and promoting more positive attitudes.

MarieOur presenter, Dr. Marie G. McIntyre, puts her 20 years' experience to work for YOU — sharing field-tested advice to create a positive work environment for ALL employees — and you!

Don't let negativity ruin your team. Keep Negativity From Infecting Your Workplace will help you to find out how you can neutralize negativity in your workplace. Get it here!

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