A Tip for Ending Complaints

Have you ever wanted to reduce, if not end, unproductive complaints?  One way to do that is to implement a policy that people only complain to those who can do something about the complaint.

Complaints are prevalent in organizations.  People complain about the weather, about their work, about their coworkers, and about their boss(es).  Although some complaints may seem innocuous, complaining contributes to a culture of negativism, lowers morale and satisfaction, gets people upset or angry, and adds to resignation and cynicism.  Complaints act like depressants, particularly when they are expressed to people who really can’t do anything about them.

But some complaints can be productive if they are directed to the right people.  Properly directed complaints can improve processes, products, and customer service.  They can lead to and support change and be a source of innovation.

If you want to increase the number of productive complaints (and reduce the number of unproductive ones), create a policy where you ask people to direct their complaints to someone who can do something about it.  If you are the someone, then listen up.  However, if you aren’t, then let them know immediately they have the wrong person and then either direct them to the right person or ask them to find out who the right person is.  This will reduce the number of complaints you listen to and train people to being accountable for their complaints.

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