One thing’s for sure about chronic complainers – they often feel powerless in their sphere of influence. In other words, since they can’t actually influence people in their family, work, or circle of friends, at least they can complain about it. A big truth in the world of communication is that people desperately need to feel needed. They want to exert influence and make a mark on the world. Most people do that by accomplishment – creating something, developing a project, or being part of a productive team. But a handful struggle to make that mark, and discover the only way to influence others is to complain. Remember that the next time you get frustrated about a complainer on your team or in the office. They’re not necessarily bad people – just people desperate to be heard – even if it’s in a negative way.
Instead of writing them off, try helping them find a place where they can productively make an impact. Help them find their “one big thing” – the area where their talent, experience, or skill could make something positive happen.
Not only will you hopefully stop the complaining – but you might actually save someone’s career.