There is an acute difference between whining and complaining in my opinion. Whining is the result of a person’s discontent with their job duties or personal responsibilities and they voice their disgruntlement in a negative manner. Whining can be handled quickly simply by acknowledging the action and communicating how inappropriate it is.
Complaining on the other hand is when someone expresses discontent with the system or how things are handled. They attempt to portray how the world is corrupt and everything is broken. They love to be a Monday morning quarterback so to speak. It’s easy to sit in the background and point out inefficiencies from a safe position safe from all accountability.
A leader has the job of discernment between whining and complaining and putting an immediate stop to it. Both can be a cancer to other people and if tolerated others will soon join in. So what do you do when you are confronted with a complainer?
Simple, make them responsible. If they really believe that the system is broken and things could be improved, then who better than that very person to take their passion and transform the problem into a lasting change for the better?
“Can you believe how some people never show up on time? It’s disrespectful.”
“You know, you are right. It is disrespectful to other people and it displays a bad image. From now on you are the ambassador of the start times. I’ll let everyone know your new role and that I stand behind you. You will now be responsible for everyone and you will be held accountable for their performance. With your passion for this I’m sure things will really turn around.”
With this method the complaining will either stop or only occur when someone is truly ready to make their environment better.