37% of Managers Don’t Give Positive Feedback – How to Stop Complaining

It’s easier to complain than take responsibility to make something better.

One morning, not long ago, I set out to NOT complain for a day. That morning at 7:00 a.m I met a leader for coffee. He said I complained in the first 30 seconds of our conversation. I complained about the large cold room where we were having coffee.

The complainer in me wants to blame him for pulling me down! But sometime – before I die – I need to take responsibility for my life.

Stop blaming others for the ugly things you see in yourself.

5 dangers of complaining:

  1. Complaining makes you small. You’re smaller than the people you complain about.
  2. Complaining makes you ugly. Even beautiful people look ugly when they complain.
  3. Complaining leads to blaming. Complainers want someone else to do something.
  4. Complaining makes you unhappy and it makes those around you unhappy.
  5. Complaining is habit forming. Repeated thoughts program your brain. Having a thought makes it easier to have the same thought.

The more you complain, the more you want to complain.

Why words matter:

Words are rudders.

Words set the direction of your leadership.

Decide today that you’re going to bring positive energy everywhere you go. This isn’t some philosophy for hippies and dope smokers.

Positive energy takes you further.

Teams move in the direction of their conversations.

If all you talk about is what’s wrong, then you have a dark team.

Evaluate conversations by asking. “Where does this conversation take us?”

Relationships reflect conversations.

Rudder projects:

  1. Commit to not complain for an hour. In the past I suggested you not complain for half a day. Maybe an hour is more realistic.
  2. Use positive language 80% of the time. That means make eight positive comments about your team members for every two negatives you say about them. Negativity is popular. 37% of managers don’t give positive feedback. (Zenger/Folkman)
  3. Express gratitude every time you feel like complaining. (Don’t tell people what you’re doing. If you do, they’ll know how much you want to complain by your expressions of gratitude.)
  4. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
  5. Team up with a no-complaining partner. Put a dollar in a fine jar every time you catch each other complaining. Use the cash to go out for dinner.

What tips do you have for overcoming the habit of complaining?

Which project could you try to counter your tendency to complain?