For too many years I care to remember, I have been reading and writing articles about people management, leadership, life and career coaching and much more of the same.
There is one topic everyone writing about these subjects always try to avoid:
Complaining and complainers.
In your work or private life, whatever you do and whatever you say ‘people’ will not be satisfied.
Increase the salary of your employees by 10 folds, and they will be content for two or three months; after which you will be back to square one!
Now look at yourself:
Even if you are living in a great mansion, have a beautiful family, a bank account that looks that it can never be emptied (maybe you do?)… you will always feel like ‘something’ is missing, something is not right, something that leaves you unhappy.
In fact, all of us, we always find a reason to complain – some of us more than others:
Whatever we do, whoever we are, we always find a good reason to complain.
Why is that?
Why can’t we be satisfied with what we have, who we are?
In fact, not acting might even be more harmful to you:
Because you are complaining and not acting to change what looks wrong to your eyes, you might get in a worst situation in the future.
On the other hand, acting instead of complaining might be hurtful too:
When you are complaining, you are part of the group, you belong to the group, you are one of them.
If you stop complaining and act upon it, you leave the group, you leave its protection (whether it is a mere feeling or not).
You are on you own, you enter a world of difficulties and challenges that you may don’t believe ready to face.
Acting is hard. Complaining is easy.
Because this is the main topic of this blog, let’s look at this issue from the workplace perspective for a moment.
Imagine that a manager reads these articles and decides to implement everything we are talking about here.
They will become (of course!) a superb leader, caring a big deal for their team, know how to brand their company to make it a great success.
But when it comes to their employees, they will never reach the high level of achievement they may find on the market:
The reason being that people cannot be happy.
Even Google with all its innovative management and leadership style, ranking year after year the best company to work for scores a meager 86% of employees fairly satisfied or satisfied, according to PayScale 2016 report.
“The key to Google's success as a workplace is constantly innovating, experimenting, and keeping things fun.
What's beautiful about this approach is that a great environment is a self-reinforcing one: all of these efforts support one another, and together create an organization that is creative, fun, hardworking, and highly productive," Laszlo Bock, Google’s Head of People Operations (Human Resources), explains.
Despite of all these never seen before efforts, only 86% satisfaction? You must be kidding!
It is the truth:
Whatever you do - the relax zones, the free healthy and gourmet meals at the cafeteria, the 80/20 policy (you work 80% of your time for the company and the remaining 20% are for your own projects), the on-site laundry, fitness and child-care centers – not mentioning the (very) generous salaries -, among much more -, you cannot satisfy all your employees, all the time.
They will always find a reason to eventually complain.
Does that mean that you should forget about Google’ model and treat your employees just OK, because – at the end of the day – if even Google cannot reach more than 86% satisfaction despite all the time, efforts, money and God knows what they spend on people, who can?!
Of course not!
The simple reason is that among those 86% satisfied, 73% find their job meaningful.
And those 73% are those who gave Google the market world’s leadership position it has today.
Google does everything right – they can hardly do more.
Therefore, it goes back to the individuals.
We can live and work in the best environment, if we don’t change ourselves the sun will never shine properly, and the grass will always be greener on the other side of the fence.
Stop being disappointed by your environment. Change it by starting to change yourself!
“If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it,” wrote author Anthony J. d’Angelo.
It is very typical to see people complaining for hours-on about their boss, their company, their family – what have you – and never do a thing about it.
If they are so unhappy about their company, why don’t they resign?
If they feel it nevertheless has a potential (that’s the reason they say they stay), why don’t they do something to make things better?
In both cases, it means leaving their comfort zone, leaving the group.
In many occasions I witnessed that when ‘the one’ individual voices the grumbles of everyone else, the group is annoyed, they are afraid that – by speaking up – the team will be ruined.
They are frightened.
The status quo is better than anything that may come and no one knows about.
They are frightened of the great unknown.
“What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you - what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind - you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn't a strategy,” said Amazon.com CEO, Jeff Bezos.
Even the best company to work for in the world isn’t good enough for some.
Because all of us better like to complain rather than do something about it.
Let’s get rid of this lose / lose inclination and let’s get up tomorrow with a new attitude towards the company we work for, our environment, our family, and everything else that makes our life.
I let Eckhart Tolle, nominated in 2011 the most spiritually influential person in the world, conclude:
“Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”
What would you do to turn a lose / lose attitude to a win / win one?