Dealing With The Constant Complainer

Sooner or later, every supervisor will have to deal with an employee who is the "constant complainer." This employee runs to the supervisor with even the most minor concerns. This person is never at fault for any problem it is always someone else who is causing the problem. Here are some guidelines for dealing with the "constant complainer:"

Be Honest

Explain truthfully what you can and cannot do in regards to the complaint. You'll lose trust if you lead employees to believe you can change things, when the reality is the employee needs to accept the situation as it is.

Change Their Focus

Employees who are focused on the misdeeds of their co-workers or the perks or special treatment others are getting should be told that they need to be spending their time and energy on their own work, not monitoring other people's work. Remind them that managing the department is your job, not theirs.

Put The Onus On Them

Let employees know that if they come to you with complaints, they should also come with potential solutions. Ask the complainer what they intend to do about their unhappiness.

Educate Them

Many employees do not understand the difference between unfair treatment and illegal treatment. If they use words like "discrimination" and "retaliation," explain that those are legal terms with very specific meanings and they don't apply to the situation.

Point Out Their Negativity

Many complainers do not recognize this quality in themselves. In fact, some think that they are "helping" you by pointing out problems. Discuss the types of behaviors you want and expect from them, and inform them that their consistently negative attitude is not conducive to good performance.

Discuss Job Suitability

A constant complainer is obviously not a happy employee. Ask whether they think they would be happier working somewhere else.

Supervisors should encourage and solicit feedback from employees regarding improvements which can be made in the workplace. However, for those few employees who are the never-happy constant complainers, these guidelines may be helpful.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .