What Can You Do About the Constant Whiners?

Those constant whiners, who always complain about something, create an unpleasant environment no matter where they are, not just at the office. Generally speaking a „whiny” is capable of criticizing everything around him/her, starting from the managers and the politicians up to the carpet color.

Constant Whiners

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Nothing can escape the keen eye of such a person and he/she is actually proud of their capacity to find something negative in everything.

Nonetheless, what do you do with a colleague like this? 

You can start by listening to what they have to say, there is a chance they are right and you need to change something. Afterwards, ask for a second opinion to check if it’s just your perception or if it’s validated by others. 

You need to give your opinion  at least once; otherwise you leave room for interpretation and they may assume you agree with what they are stating. This gives you the chance to quickly clarify your position and explain firmly why you don’t consider that this topic should ever be discussed again. If the company policy states that the toilet paper used by the employees should be white, it’s irrelevant and exhausting to keep talking about pink… even if it’s just toilet paper and not elephants.  

If you realize at some point they are rambling, don’t indulge them any further. If you don’t mind them, they would eventually stop due to lack of audience. It wouldn’t hurt to also check a little the productivity of the person in question, as often times when someone is acting this way they don’t have the time to perform their duties properly. An exception can be the professional whiners who don’t find anything good in their lives, but we don’t analyze such cases because we risk not ever getting to the bottom of it. 

If you tolerate such an attitude, from a colleague, a subordinate or even a manager, sooner or later their behavior will become contagious for the entire team.

The most effective antidote are ad hoc feedback and coaching sessions, because they focus directly on the problem. When I talk about coaching, I mean discussing the future approach: „What can you do to act differently the next time this happens and how do you think it will impact the team?”

Most of the time, when an employee complains about something, he/she also has the solution, so involving them directly may solve the problem and the complaint at the same time. In case the things escalate, the issue should also be elevated to the people who are entitled to handle it: direct manager, their manager’s boss, the HR department, etc. 

Finally, if none of those work, your roads are meant to part… without any doubt or hesitation.

When you complain about something/someone, it may have a cooling or even a therapeutic effect, but still won’t solve the problem.

Good luck succeeding!

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