Sherri Elliot-Yeary, president of Human Capital Solutions, offers these tips on dealing with workplace whiners:
Be aware - it can ruin your reputation if you are seen commiserating with a known 'whiner' in the office. That's not going to make your boss feel good that you're earning paid . You don't want It to bring down your quality of life and your attitude.
It's hard enough to keep morale these days in the workplace , you don't need this on top of it.
WHAT DO DO WITH A WHINER:
1. Actively listen to them - if only briefly
2. Make eye contact so they know you are connecting with them
3. Limit the amount of time you give them to "share", perhaps one to two minutes most
4. Paraphrase back to them what you heard them complain about
5. Offer your feedback with solutions to address what they are whining about.
By limiting the amount of time you spend engaged and drained by "whiners" you will effectively reduce the drain on your time and energy and the person whining will either realize you are not willing to passively listen to them but rather offer positive solutions and they will either stop coming to you or they will use your ideas to help correct when they are upset over.
STEP TWO: PROFESSIONAL COURAGE
If someone persists in whining to you, it would be best for both of you to share with them in a respectful manner that they need to stop whining about so many things and instead use the energy and time to collaborate on a solution. If they don't stop whining to you or others, eventually people stop listening even when they a legitimate concern. The whiner then becomes the little boy who cried wolf too many times and when he really needed support, no one would listen!
It's better to try this, at least once, versus just walking away.
Last try -- you might even want to talk to a manager about the situation to see if the company can help them move forward (training, education, counselor or coach).
You only have so much personal energy. Even in times of lay-offs you have to curtail negative discussion - because it's not usually going to help, in fact it often spreads or suspends people in a state of fear.
Don't let whiners who don't want to move into action - keep you from the important actions of your job.
HER NEW BOOK "YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL, JUST NOT ALL AT ONCE!"
Whining coworkers can be hazardous to your career - and your mental health: http://on.wsj.com/RM76QL
Exposure to nonstop negativity can disrupt learning, memory, attention and judgment, says Robert Sapolsky, a professor of neurology at Stanford University. While it's often best to walk away, that can be difficult in a team-based workplace.
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