"The wildest colts make the best horses." – Plutarch

"One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested." — E. M. Forster

You who they are. If there were a handful of employees that you would intentionally avoid, they are the ones….the complainers. You work your butt off and they still complain, you fix things and they still complain, you try something new and they complain. It’s demoralizing and one of the tougher things to deal with as a leader. But if you think of your complaining employees as you think of your complaining customers, you realize that they are a resource to show you where you need to improve most.

People will tell you what they need, whether they be customers or employees. Employees want the tools and resources to do their job better (satisfying the customer). Similar to customers, your most vocal complainers are most likely saying what your other employees won’t, and they are the easiest resource for determining where there are deficiencies in their tools. What you’ll hear about that is vital to your improvement:

  • The barriers they are encountering regularly.
  • The barriers that “should” be easily fixable (they may not understand the complications to the solution).
  • The barriers that cause them the most pain.

Of course, not everything they complain about should be fixed. There are many things that need to be in place that your team may not enjoy. However, after finding out what their problems are with how things are done, it’s simply a matter of selecting what can be fixed, and prioritize those fixes. So while you may not be able to win them over, they can still be one of your most valuable tools in the effort to improve your department’s performance. Don’t be afraid, or discouraged, in using them.

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