How to Put an End to Complaining

I made it to 7 a.m. before complaining.

This morning I decided that I wouldn’t complain all day. After some thought, I lowered my expectation to the morning. But the first thing I did was complain at a 7 A.M. meeting.

If I’m not careful, I’ll start complaining about my 7 a.m. complaining.

What is complaining:

  1. Complaining is noticing problems WITHOUT exploring solutions.
  2. Complaining is whining about something you can’t change.
  3. Complaining is insecurity’s first response to poor performance.
  4. Complaining is focusing on bad and ignoring good.  
  5. Complaining is attempting to elevate status. Humble-braggers complain about being too busy. After all, only losers have free time.

3 reasons leaders complain:

  1. To excuse poor performance. Results disappointed so you need something or someone to blame.
  2. Sympathy-seeking. You want others to feel sorry for you. Call this Woe Is Me complaining.
  3. Dissatisfaction. Reaching forward sinks into unhappiness with the past.

Not complaining:

Noticing isn’t complaining. “I notice you were late for work everyday this week,”  isn’t complaining.

Pointing out things that are broken, not working, or harmful in pursuit of improvement isn’t complaining.

Leadership includes problem solving. But if you leave out the word “solving”, you’re a whining complainer.

Maya Angelou says, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

3 ways to stop complaining today:

#1. Make a commitment to not complain about a single thing for one day. If that seems aggressive, stop complaining in the morning. Recommit when you falter.

#2. Confront problems before they become nagging complaints. Delay lets problems grow into worrisome beasts.

#3. Turn temptation into positive behavior. Just think how positive you’d be if you turned every temptation to complain into solution-seeking and gratitude.

Tip: Read Jon Gordon’s, The No Complaining Rule.

Why is complaining so prevalent?

How might leaders put an end to complaining?