It’s so very easy to complain, isn’t it? All it takes is to move our lips, and technically, we don’t even have to think while doing it!
We don’t like to think of ourselves wimpy whiners, but bringing a problem out in the open in order to solve it involves work and sometimes risk. Even Shakespeare’s Hamlet had trouble overcoming his inertia, wondering if he should, in today’s vernacular, just suck it up, or “take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.”
Suspecting that your average “sea of troubles” is not going to drift away all by itself, I suggest you take action instead.
I’ve found as I’ve studied personality styles and observed hundreds of people over the decades, that people usually complain because they don’t feel they have the skills (or more often, the power) to effect change. But they (and you) do! You can build skills, and you might have more power than you thought! So instead of assuming that a solution to your problem is “nowhere,” decide that it is “now here.”
Try these steps:
1. Unravel what’s behind your complaint. Let’s say you feel your boss is a jerk, because she always seems to discount your (obviously brilliant) ideas, or never gives you feedback, or whatever. What’s the larger issue here? That you would like to have a relationship built upon trust and respect with your boss.
2. Push your fears aside. Why haven’t you addressed this problem in the past? Do you feel that think your boss would think you’re a complainer? Or that it wouldn’t do any good? Or that your boss might laugh or yell at you? Realize that these fears are based on assumptions which might not be true; your boss may simply be clueless!
3. Make a plan. If you’ve read about conflict resolution or negotiation, you know that preparation is everything. Make it a point to imagine what’s important to your boss, so you can frame your solution in a way that meets his or her needs as well as your own. Override your inner thoughts (which might have become pretty whiny lately) by constructing a speech that is respectful, assertive, non-accusatory, and specific.
4. As you discuss the problem, focus on a “both gain” solution. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about both people feeling good about generating and committing to a solution.
If you speak up, you may be able to create a much happier working situation. Even more importantly, you will be a leader in building a “can do” culture of positive expectation at work, vs. being a follower in an “everything is hopeless” culture of negativity.
If your organization would like a keynote speech or training program on this or other topics, contact Jeanne at (402) 475-1127 or (800) 410-3178, see her website at www.cts-online.net, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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