A Note from Randy:
Yes, I’ve been absent from my blog for a few weeks. I’m not complaining, but in the battle between extra time to complete my new book and writing a blog, the new book won.
For the next two weeks, I’ll share pieces from two excellent resources, and then, it will be back to blogs from me.
So enjoy this excellent piece from Linda Swindling. Her new book, on which this is based, is excellent. You can purchase it here. I recommend it for you, your team, and that complainer who drives you nuts.
Stop Complainers; Eliminate the Energy Drain & Get More Results
Are your people complaining? Do you see more work drama than work? Then, you’re not unusual. Seventy-seven percent of people spend at least 3-6 hours a week dealing with complainers and energy draining situations. However, before you start polishing up on your coaching and counseling communication skills, look at what’s creating the creating the negative behavior.
In a recent survey of over 1,000 people the number one condition that causes people to complain is “Unclear direction or lack of feedback from leadership.”
Other energy drains identified in the survey include:
- Office politics
- Bureaucratic policies
- Work environment
- Technology challenges
Systems and situations that drain your energy create worry, stress and tension and affect your ability to lead. Often, these systems are designed to create order but have evolved into complications and time wasters. As a leader, people watch to see how you respond to energy drains. The following actions will not work when negotiating with energy drains:
Losing patience or getting exasperated or emotional. Energy drains are systems and situations. Although created by people, energy drains lack emotions and an emotional response won’t fix them.
Ignoring or postponing them. Most frustrations don’t go away or get better on their own. Trying to avoid the issue can actually consume more energy than resolving the problem.
Fighting the system. Effective change requires strategy and experience. Cooperation and positive influence are more productive than anger.
The best way to negotiate with energy drains is to identify the issue, control what you can and negotiate the rest as follows:
Identify the issue. What is the problem and what will make the biggest difference the soonest? Are lengthy and repetitive emails tying you or your people up? Do unnecessary reports keep work from getting done and seeing results? You and your people are probably not the only ones frustrated by the issue so find out what solutions have been tried before.
Control. Move into a problem solving-mode. If you can’t fix the challenge, you can control how you respond to it. Create team rules about how you handle targeted energy drains. For example, set up boundaries such as only responding to emails during certain times of the day or not copying all in responses.
Negotiate the rest. Stop the frustrations you can. Look for tasks that can be deleted or delegated. For example, eliminate unnecessary meetings or conference calls, and remove yourself from unnecessary correspondence.
Spot the energy drains in the work day so that you can stop them. With less work drama more work will be completed. Once you’ve eliminated the major reasons people are stressed, you can tackle those chronic complainers who gripe no matter how good they have it at work. Oh…and you may find yourself complaining less…not a bad result.
About Linda Swindling
A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues and high stakes communication, Linda Byars Swindling, is a “recovering” employment attorney, a media expert, and a Certified Speaking Professional. Creator of the popular Passports to Success series and author of the recent book Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers: How to Negotiate Work Drama to Get More Done, Linda speaks at conventions, associations and companies throughout the country. For more information on how to Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers or to contact Linda, go to www.StopComplainers.com.