I walked through an office not long ago and listened to some conversations being held in hallways and bathroom. Yes, as my daughter says, I was a “creeper.” But I was trying to get a sense for the environment in this particular organization.
In a matter of five minutes I counted at least twelve different groups of people complaining about something at work or home. They told their stories over their cubicle walls, in front of vending machines and in bathrooms.
“Well, my manager doesn’t even come to see us so, we don’t have to worry about his getting into our conversations. He doesn’t even know who I am.”
“Can you believe that somebody is still eating stuff in the refrigerator that isn’t theirs?”
“I’m not attending the team dinner. Sh*t. I want to get out of here as soon as I can.”
“I know I’m a leader and shouldn’t say this, but that leader is incompetent.”
We all do it. We can’t help ourselves. We go to work each day determined to make a difference, yet sometimes find ourselves complaining about something or someone within the first hour. But we rarely rant in front of those who could do something about it. We complain in the dark, small spaces.
Like vampires, complaints wear dark clothing and suck the life out of people and organizations.
During times of change, the stories escalate even more to match the level of concern and fear. So, what can be done to put the proverbial stake in the heart of complaining?
Remember that vampires can’t endure the light. Surface complaints by doing the following:
Complaints come from fear, they thrive in the dark, and they live off of the blood of other individuals. But complaints only have power in the caskets of quiet whispers.
Surface them. They can’t survive in the light of solutions.