As a manager, the toughest part of your job is managing people’s expectations. And if you have a team of more than 5 resources, there’s a very high likelihood of a whiner in them.
If managing every individual team member’s expectation sounds daunting, then managing those of the classic “whiner” is 4 X in magnitude.
While team members come to you with their wishes on a specific cycle, which mostly coincides with appraisal period, whiners constantly bombard you with “what’s not right here and what’s missing there”.
These constant deluge of complaints has the potential of overtime casting a self-doubt in yourself, when you have to sit down and face them for any review.
If a point is constantly said over 1000 times, it sort of assumes the elevation of being the truth and gets very hard to defend with any logical view.
Additionally, whiners are the first to throw spanner in the works, whenever you address your entire team on any new initiative; they effortlessly hijack the meetings and dilute the necessary ingredients that are meant to steer the team for that whatsoever new initiative.
How to then tackle whiners, silence them and do all of that without spilling any blood?
Get them to take the Whine Tasting.
Sit down with them individually and look into their eyes. List down all the points that they have been repeatedly crying about. And get them to validate if they continue to see these shortcomings (w.r.t. Resources, company’s policy, strategy, customer service standards, etc.,) in the organisation.
Wait for them to nod with acceptance – which will most likely be with a sarcastic tone of how things can never change for good in the company.
Then comes the actual TEST.
Ask them the following:
- What is his future plan with an organisation that is so stubbornly holding onto these shortcomings for a very long period?
- Why does he get to waste his talent & time with such an environment?
- Why hasn’t he worked upon the other options where his talents can be put to better use?
- Why would anyone with such a supreme perception of “what is a sure shot failure”, still continuing to hang in there?
Two things can possibly happen:
- You’ve instilled a great deal of self-doubt on him, as all misconceived supremacy is shaken at the very foundation level. He’ll look for opportunities outside and move on. Which is a great outcome for you and your team.
- You’ve got him to think differently, from a different plane of observation. You’ve kindled his inability (for a change) to contribute towards eliminating those shortcomings.
Trust me, I have practiced this with two characteristic whiners in my teams and now both are well on their way in aligning with the “Team’s Common Goal”.
Try it in your workplace and let me know how it worked.