Managers all feel that rise in panic when they see that employee’s name flash on an incoming call, or hear that they want to book an appointment. You know that employee who just rolls his/her eyes the Nigerian way during meetings, do things begrudgingly, and complain to co-workers? Your mind races through likely discussions. Management needs to read the new labour law. How long before you review my salary? We need more milk and coffee in the kitchen.
Well, they say that it’s an employee’s nature to whine. But if it’s your job to manage employees, here are some pointers to help you teach them to stop whining.
1. Be sympathetic to their need to complain
You may not need to hear every single whine and complain, but listening to their point of view (no matter how cynical) is key. It will give you clues to where the issues lie and what actually needs to be fixed , if there are any.
It demonstrates that you are not paying lip service, but respecting their opinion and point of view.
Cynicism would not flourish when people see that happen.
2. Give room for choice
People are motivated more when they can make good choices for themselves.
So, when you set an aggressive deadline, also ask for their ideas on how to meet it. When you hit a difficult challenge, offer some options, but also let your team suggest what can be done.
If there’s an opportunity to improve how something’s done, give your team space not just to make choices, but to learn from them.
3. Remember they are real people
Nothing gets employees whining than when issues are masked in corporate language.
Treat your employees as individuals rather than just resources. When it’s all about the numbers and your goals, why won’t employees get whinny?
Never forget they are real people.
4. Be bluntly honest
When mangers are not honest with the staff, it creates the perfect atmosphere for distrust in an organization.
Sometimes, actually admitting you don’t have all the answers and that you need help to turn things around will galvanize people like no managerial instruction can.
Be bluntly honest, admit what you don’t know, own up to errors, and invite help.
5. Check the source of negativity
Getting offended that an employee thinks your directive may be wrong is not the solution. It is important to check the source of this negativity.
They may not necessarily want to defy your orders, but opposing based on hard truth with facts. Sometimes, it’s not from a place of self-interest or rebellion, but from a practical place of insight and experience.
Check the source.
6. Work for them
Whining thrives when managers sit on their high horses ordering their employees to do their bidding. Even in a less dictatorial setting, there’s room for distrust and pessimism from the bottom toward the top.
How about spinning around the notion that an employee works for the manager? Your job is to create an environment where employees can perform well.
It’s hard to whine when employees see that you have their best interests at heart.
Share your thoughts!