Creative Leadership

Chronic Complainers Are Usually Powerless People

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.

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    1. Fire them. I’m a big believer in firing people. When you keep people who are constantly complaining or not performing, you’re not only hurting your organization, but you’re hurting them as well. Because you’re letting them believe they’re doing well – and giving them a false sense of success. In essence, you’re lying to them. Much better to cut them loose and help them find a place where they can contribute and be fulfilled.

  1. GREAT thoughts, Phil! The hard part for me is not thinking negatively of them when they complain… got to work on that.

  2. Love this post! You have challenged and encouraged me at the same time. This has so many implications for those in ministry.

  3. Wow. Definite food for thought. Makes me think about myself too. I’ve never had a problem with complaining unless I felt useless.
    Now, I just need to adjust my thinking when I’m complaining, and figure out how to make myself useful.

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