Complaining: What’s the point?

We’ve all done it–we’ve complained about a boss, a client, a supplier, or a colleague… to everyone other than the person we’re complaining about.

But are you aware of how much time we typically spend complaining, or the ramifications?

According to one source: “a majority of employees spend 10 or more hours per month complaining—or listening to others complain—about their bosses or upper management…almost a third spend 20 hours or more per month doing so.”

That’s a massive loss of productivity right there for sure, but it’s also a loss of energy, motivation and good will.

So why do we do it?

According to experts, when we get angry, frustrated, or feel threatened, we literally sense physical discomfort. Venting those feelings to someone else momentarily releases some of that pent up discomfort, we get a sense that we’ve spread the load, and when people agree (as they often politely will) we feel comforted and validated.

However, complaining–whether we’re doing it ourselves or listening to others–can be absolutely detrimental to our mood and to the mood of the people around you.

In an insightful article, Peter Bregman at Harvard Business Review suggests complaining can create factions, delay or prevent productive engagement, reinforce and strengthen dissatisfaction, break trust, create a mood of negativity, and get colleagues worked up.

So, what should we do instead of complaining (after all, it’s pretty natural, isn’t it?)

Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up complaining–you just need to find a more effective way to do it. And that involves ‘complaining’ to the person who is causing you grief.

But hold on… don’t plough straight in, guns blazing. The trick to effective complaining is to pick your moment, to be thoughtful and respectful. Equally, you need to insist on other people being respectful and thoughtful towards you as well.

Have your points firmly in mind, remove the emotion from your delivery and, if you’re met with yelling or defensive behaviour, suggest a different time to talk things through.

Voicing your concerns and complaints takes courage but in doing so, you have the potential to make a positive difference–for you and your workplace.

Click here to read Peter Bregman’s insightful article on re-directing complaints.

Ayers Can Help

There’s plenty going on in the world right now that’s making people feel anxious, behave without thinking and/or potentially to offend. As a contractor, it can be difficult to voice your concerns and even more difficult to navigate a toxic workplace. The Ayers Group is here to ease your administrative obligations so you can take time out to look after yourself and maintain your positive energy.

Contact an expert at the Ayers Group today. Our contract management solutions could be just what you need to retain balance in work and life, while growing your wealth.