No one loves hearing someone complain...about anything. So let’s start right now and put an end to it, one complaint at a time. What? We can’t just have happy employees who don’t complain? Never!
The key to maintaining an open and safe work environment is tackling your employees’ concerns as soon as you can. However, timing is everything, and it’s best to think about how you want to handle the situation before launching into the conversation.
Here are suggestions for you to be great at handling these situations.
Listen. It’s the first step to handling the complaint. Ask probing questions and get the person to be clear about what the issue is. Repeat what you’re hearing so you’re both clear on the problem.
Be empathetic. That can be difficult, especially if you don’t agree with them. And being empathetic doesn’t mean throwing upper management under the bus. Saying “I understand…” is often just enough.
Be a good coach. Saying “You may not be aware that…” or “I recommend” will help guide them through the situation.
Brainstorm solutions together. This is important! This gets them in the mode of problem-solving versus just complaining.
Come to agreement. Once you sort through the issue, decide who will do what to find out more information or deal with the problem.
Circle back. Decide when you’ll meet again to make sure the issue is resolved.
Reinforce problem-solving versus complaining. When employees come to you with problems and different ways to solve them, thank them for their approach and their ideas.
While we can never rid the workplace from problems, you can redirect employees to come to you with issues and possible solutions rather than being negative.