Q: I’ve got a team member who’s a real Negative Nancy. How do I deal with him/her?

 — Rich, Detroit, Mich.

 A: You may think the best thing to do is walk away from the person. But he or she is your co-worker – can’t do it. Bad for business and all. So instead of the ear muffs approach, try the opposite — listen. Simple as that? No, but Steve M. Cohen, Ed.D, wrote in a nice little scenario that once you understand the gripe, maybe you can offer a reasonable way to diffuse said griping. Usually, a griper has worked themselves up to that point over a period of months or years. Sometimes, folks are just wired that way. But you can’t afford to be, what with a cheery, go-get-em attitude required when face-to-face with customers. Even if it’s small steps toward a solution, and away from the gripe, then consider it a win.

Encourage and hold complainers accountable to making a change and/or resolve that moves them away from griping and into the realm of problem solving. Validating their concerns and motivating them towards creating resolution will eventually allow most complainers to feel more empowered and capable while decreasing their need to complain.

 

The full column is here  

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