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4 ways not to respond to complaints

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Employees are going to complain—even employees who work for top-notch organizations and outstanding managers. However, negative feedback isn’t something you should discourage because it allows you to make changes that increase innovation, productivity and morale. Don’t make these mistakes when an employee complains to you:

  1. Downplaying the complaint. While some employees are chronic complainers, most employees won’t complain unless it is truly justified. Don’t dismiss complaints. Instead, seek ways to improve everyone’s situation.
  2. Pointing fingers. If your immediate reaction is to find someone to blame, employees may hide mistakes and lie to avoid punishment, costing the organization money, time and even customers.
  3. Offering a fake apology. Saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” and then doing nothing to resolve the issue will make employees resentful. Instead of offering insincere apologies, work with the employee to find solutions you both can live with.
  4. Taking too long to follow up. When you fail to resolve the issue promptly, you indicate that you don’t care about employees’ concerns. Address problems quickly and follow up with employees—even if it’s just to say that you can’t or won’t make any changes.

— Adapted from “8 Mistakes Leaders Make When Responding To Complaints,” Dr. Bruce R. Pereira, www.linkedin.com.

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