Courageous Complaining

Angry emoji on mobile phone

Are you a courageous or a cowardly complainer?

Have you ever had someone get upset with you but instead of telling you, they told someone else – or everyone else – except you? We see or experience it all the time. And if we’re honest we’ve probably done it on occasion.

It’s the colleague who tells you they don’t need your help but then grumbles to another coworker that you aren’t pulling your weight. It’s the customer who leaves the restaurant without a peep then complains about his/her experience on Facebook. It’s the people who say “It’s fine!” when it is NOT fine.

Your team needs you to carry your weight. Your customers deserve a great experience. When our reasonable expectations are not met or we feel the other party hasn’t followed through with their end of the bargain, we should speak up. But we should do it in a way that seeks to resolve the issue rather than indulge our frustrations or unhappy feelings.

Courageous complainers:

  • Directly address the issue – with professionalism and class
  • Talk to the person
  • Are solution-focused

Cowardly complainers:

  • Avoid addressing the issue
  • Talk about the person
  • Desire drama/reaction/satisfaction from complaining
  • Are problem-focused

Courageous complainers have the same goal as the person they’re complaining to: they want a reasonable fix. Most cowardly complainers just want to be unhappy, and they want everyone around them to be aware of their unhappiness.

The next time you feel the need to complain, ask yourself, am I complaining courageously or cowardly? Am I focused on a solution or just dwelling on the problem? Your mindset will make all the difference in how you feel and how you impact the problem that’s affecting you.

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