Three Types of Complainers – Which One Are You

I wonder if you pat yourself on the back because you don’t voice all your complaints.

Withholding complaints doesn’t make you a positive leader.


Complaining is fun at least for awhile.

Traffic was horrible. The weather is lousy. Millennials are lazy.

My wife and I love to complain and laugh about Total Recall, an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie about Mars. 

Three types of complainers:

Chronic complainers:

Nothing is good enough. Life sucks!

Chronic complainers complain because they feel powerless. Things don’t change. 

Encouragement doesn’t help chronic complainers.

The only time chronic complainers are ‘happy’ is when they’re unhappy about something. (Do I sound like a complainer.)

‘Woe is me’ complainers:

Some complain because they want you to gather round with concerned faces and give sad hugs.

‘Woe is me’ complainers reject solutions. Solutions are simply another opportunity to find new complaints.

‘Woe is me’ complainers might seem harmless, but they suck the life out of teams.

Strategic complainers:

Leaders choose their complaints carefully and work with others to make improvements.

4 Tips:

#1. Reflect on what complaining says about you.

  • Maybe you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with yourself.
  • Maybe you have high aspirations for others.

#2. Before you complain ask yourself what you really want.

  • Chronic complainers don’t want anything.
  • ‘Woe is me’ complainers want sympathy.
  • Many complainers are like children, they want someone to do something for them. It’s controlling.

#3. Complain with confidence that improvements are possible.

We can do something about this.

#4. Determine if you’re willing to work to make improvement.

If you aren’t prepared to get skin in the game, zip it and let it go.

Don’t talk about it if you don’t plan to do something about it.

What types of complainers might you identify?

What tips do you have for complainers?