When working with other people or living with them, it always seems easier to complain more than we commend. We see the things that we don’t like and we are quick to complain about them while hesitating to commend when we see the things that are done well. There is one thing you need to note, when you always complain more than you commend, you will never get the best from those people whose actions you complain about.
At one point I have been at the end of receiving too much complaints and I struggled to improve in order to reduce the complaint. Guess what happened? The more I struggled to reduce the complain the more complaints I received. Why was it happening that way despite my efforts to reduce the complaints as I found out it happens to other people as well? It’s simple. When you complain too much about people’s ability and their responsibilities, you gradually shift their focus from doing the task better to trying to impress you. Unfortunately, the more they try to impress you the more they make mistakes.
I am sure you mean no harm when complaining about the things that people are not doing well. However, you will become a pain in the neck when you always complain and never commend. Worse still, you can do a great damage to the ego or self esteem of the people you are complaining about. They may end of thinking they are up to no good. They can gradually begin to believe that they will not amount to much in life. I am sure you don’t want to deflate people’s self-esteem completely but if all you ever do is complain, that is what you will always have.
Now this may be hard but I think you need to know that if you complain too much, the problem may not always be with the people you are complaining about. The issue might just be you. Sometimes, complaining might be a subtle way of refusing to take responsibilities and simply shifting blames. Be real with yourself! Are you hiding something in yourself that’s making you complain too much about other people?
Having cleared the possibility of a personal issue with you as a person, when you need to complain about other people’s actions, you can do it in a very effective manner. Although some people talk about the sand-witch approach which encourages people to commend first, complain a little and then commend, I would suggest you use the mentoring approach to complaining.
My mentoring approach to complaining is simple.
1. When something goes wrong, I sometimes wait for the ideal time to talk about it rather than just complaining.
2. I first try to understand the person’s rationale for acting before condemning.
3. Ask questions and give people a chance to defend themselves. It does not mean you accept their excuses.
4. Show them what they did wrong and the possible consequences of their actions against you, other people or the organisation.
5. Let them see that you are having that conversation with them to reduce consequences of their actions against other people.
6. Ultimately, it’s about them becoming better people.
7. I believe that you can complain and still affirm. People should know that you love or believe in them despite the complaints. If they think you don’t like them then there will be issues.
You can help yourself and other people get better without bursting anyone’s ego. It’s okay to point out what people are not doing right but you also have to do it the right way!
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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