Part of the solution or part of the problem?
Can you think of someone who seemingly has made it their life’s work to complain (or as I call it – ‘bleat’) every chance they get? These people are easy to spot, particularly in the workplace. When ideas are tabled or solutions to problems suggested, they are the ones who spend their time telling you why things won’t work. Their input revolves entirely around the problem – and never the solution. (Yes, it drives me mad too!)
However if you have someone in your organisation that is a perpetual bleater, firstly consider reasons why they might be doing it – it may provide some opportunity to reduce or even stop the bleating.
- They may have inherited it from their last workplace
- They may have got it from their parents
- It could be that they choose to hang around people who are also bleaters
- Perhaps they have not been asked one simple question persistently enough… ‘What will work?’
If you have a bleater in your midst, try changing your language to help them change theirs. When they focus on the problem, which means they are focusing on past events, move them to focus on the solution and the future. And be persistent. Ask them, ‘Ok, what will work?’ And if they reply with, ‘Well we’ve tried such and such and it didn’t work..’ or similar, push harder… ‘OK, but I asked what will work?’
If you still don’t have any joy, then perhaps do what some of our clever clients have done. They have a installed a ‘No bleating’ policy’. True! Essentially it says that you cannot complain or raise issues unless you are prepared to help with the solution. And if they don’t wish to help, or indeed there is no solution (i.e. it’s out of everyone’s control) then they cannot continue to bleat.
What they find more often than not is most people do have a positive side accompanied with real good ideas. They just need to be asked better questions.
Oh, and if you’re a bleater…please stop!!
Yours in prosperity and fun