Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quit the Yapping

We recently wrote about how workplace arguments can be bad for the office health, but Inc. writes about how listening to complainers is actually bad for your personal health. That doesn't mean that you can't just tune it out everything that's awry with your company:

But if you're running a company, don't you need to hear about anything that may have gone wrong? "There's a big difference between bringing your attention to something that's awry and a complaint," Blake says. "Typically, people who are complaining don't want a solution; they just want you to join in the indignity of the whole thing. You can almost hear brains clink when six people get together and start saying, 'Isn't it terrible?' This will damage your brain even if you're just passively listening. And if you try to change their behavior, you'll become the target of the complaint."
The article doesn't stop there as it goes to give some advice on how to handle the Negative Nancies, including getting some distance and putting your shields up. My favorite piece of advice, though, was one that they describe as letting the complainer fix the problem:
"Try to get the person who's complaining to take responsibility for a solution," Blake says. "I typically respond to a complaint with, 'What are you going to do about it?'" Many complainers walk away huffily at that point, because he hasn't given them what they wanted, Blake reports. But some may actually try to solve the problem.
I like it because it doesn't avoid the problem, but, instead, goes head on on how to fix it. The goal isn't to ignore what's going wrong, it's finding a way to fix it. And sometimes the best fixer of issues is the person who yaps the most. So while it's bad for your health to listen to them, find a way to make it a productive yapping.

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