Constructive Complaining

Published Thursday, May 06, 2010 9:19 AM

To complain is human.

But, with the downturn in the economy and upswing in everyday pressures on-the-job, complaining has taken on a life of its own in the typical workplace. As a recent Wall Street Journal article titled Misery Poker: It's One Game Worth Losing observes: "As times get tougher, complaining is starting to look more like a blood sport than a coping mechanism. Stressed to the max and desperate for everyone to know it, many of us are trying to trump each other with our carping."

This steady stream of grumbles is not good for business. In fact, according to a post from the Chief Happiness Officer, it can be quite toxic since it:

  • Becomes habitual
  • Colors perception
  • Makes people despondent
  • Kills innovation
  • Thwarts relationships
  • Creates office factions
  • Promotes pessimism

To prevent and offset this environmental hazard in the workplace, we need to learn and encourage constructive complaining. When we complain constructively, we complain about:

  • The right thing
  • At the right time
  • To someone who can do something about it

We also engage in some honest self-scrutiny to make sure that our complaint is firmly grounded in some objective reality as opposed to our own irrationality.

According to an article that asks Can You Go 21 Days Without Complaining?, we can avoid making unconstructive complaints if we:

  • Write down what is bothering us
  • Consider what we can do to change the situation
  • Channel the complaint into a more productive response
  • Identify something positive about the scenario

In addition to the above suggestions, I always appreciate it, if when someone complains to me they take the time to offer a suggestion on how to fix the issue. In my opinion, this can be the most constructive use of complaining, because it can be used not only to vent, but to solve problems!

If you want to be a more constructive complainer, you can start the process by taking this Constructive Complaining Quiz. Feel free to share your results and feedback with us and the Beyond Folders Community.

by Candie Harris


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# cheap oem software said on Sunday, February 12, 2012 6:08 AM

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# Kaliane said on Thursday, April 26, 2012 9:09 AM

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# cheap oem software said on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 6:03 PM

8rbPZO I think this is a real great post.Really thank you! Great.

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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