Complaining: Does it Get Anything Done?

Do you complain much?

What does it get you?

Probably not as much as you think.

Sometimes you may get attention for short time.

Or, you may get your way sometimes. (At what cost?)

However, in the long run you are probably wasting your time.

You are likely getting a bad reputation and not getting much done.

Remember, the squeaky wheel may get the grease but it is also the first to be replaced.

Whining or Doing Something About It?

Our society is one of talking… not doing.

We favor inaction. We favor not making decisions. Most are happy not to participate.

And, we love to complain.

Some examples:

- Workers who complain about the state of their workspace, but don’t do anything about it.

- Neighbors who gripe about their local conditions, however are not willing to get involved.

- Customers who complain about the service, yet don’t take their business elsewhere.

- Individuals who whine about their career and lack of advancement, but don’t take steps to change the future.

One of the biggest productivity drains at many companies is the group of employees who spend hours of their day “at the water cooler” complaining about the company leadership and performance.

What if these people went out and did something?

There is a big difference between talking and doing.

Deeds Not Words

Action is always more powerful than verbal intent.

Doing gets it done.

Complaining usually just throws gasoline on the problem and leads to more discussion and inaction.

“Complaining is verbal procrastination. It doesn’t get the job done.”

Here are some of the ways that complaining negatively affects productivity:

  1. Literally Wastes Time – How many hours a day do you spend complaining? I have observed workers who will spend 2 hours at a shot chatting about how bad their work environment is. What if they spent this time making it better?
  2. Negative Energy – Do you believe in the power of a positive attitude? I do. In the same way, a negative attitude will only serve as an anchor to pull you down. Your negative words will drain your energy level and productivity.
  3. You Are What You Believe – Related to the negative energy is that “you are what you believe.” If you complain that things are not good enough and that you are never going to succeed, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You reap what you sow…and say.
  4. Others Think You Are What You Say – Are you the Debbie Downer of your workplace or group? Others will perceive you based on your statements and attitude. If all you do is complain, then you will be assumed to always be unhappy and an instigator of negativity.

What Could You Get Done?

Complaining is the opposite of productivity.

If you are complaining, you are pretty much doing anything but what you should be.

Complaining also brings a great deal of negativity into your life both internally and for those around you.

There is a great book on this subject by Will Bowen called, “A Complaint Free World.” In it, he presents a challenge to go 21 days without complaining. I highly suggest you check it out. It is currently available for only $6.80 via Amazon here. (affiliate link)

Next time you find yourself wanting to complain, instead ask yourself what you can do about it.

By doing instead of whining, you will probably startle those around you. (In a good way.)

Let’s do a little less complaining and little more doing today!

What could you get done if you stopped complaining and started doing?

 

 

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • jmorgandavis

    I’ve found that complaining CORRECTLY is a bit of an art, but can be really effective in encouraging dialogue, building trust (both ways!), improving processes and and even affecting change. I find it’s always helpful to have ideas ready – treat every complaint you make as if the recipient is going to respond with, “I’d like to see you do better!” I always try to include compliments and reassurance in my complaint, and do my best not to be rude or condescending. Demonstrate respectful desire to work together to solve whatever issue you’re complaining about, and you’ll definitely get a better reaction. :)

    • TMNinja

      @jmorgandavis Sounds like you are trying to make things better which is a great approach! :)

  • jmorgandavis

    I’ve found that complaining CORRECTLY is a bit of an art, but can be really effective in encouraging dialogue, building trust (both ways!), improving processes and and even affecting change. I find it’s always helpful to have ideas ready – treat every complaint you make as if the recipient is going to respond with, “I’d like to see you do better!” I always try to include compliments and reassurance in my complaint, and do my best not to be rude or condescending. Demonstrate respectful desire to work together to solve whatever issue you’re complaining about, and you’ll definitely get a better reaction. :)

  • mary.whitsell

    I complain, and when it’s really important, I take action. Both are satisfying.

    • TMNinja

      @mary.whitsell :) I prefer they taking action to try and make things better for the next time.

  • mary.whitsell

    I complain, and when it’s really important, I take action. Both are satisfying.

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  • TMNinja

    @jmorgandavis Sounds like you are trying to make things better which is a great approach! :)

  • TMNinja

    @mary.whitsell :) I prefer they taking action to try and make things better for the next time.

  • http://www.probloggingsuccess.com/ Jane | Problogging Success

    Hi Craig,

    Well said. Complaining does nothing! It is just a waste of precious time and energy. And, one cannot afford to lose self respect by getting too low when complaining about others. People who complain a lot are not productive. Their brain is always clogged with excuses.

    Thanks for bringing up the bad consequences of complaining.

    Cheers,

    Jane.

  • janesheeba

    Hi Craig,

    Well said. Complaining does nothing! It is just a waste of precious time and energy. And, one cannot afford to lose self respect by getting too low when complaining about others. People who complain a lot are not productive. Their brain is always clogged with excuses.

    Thanks for bringing up the bad consequences of complaining.

    Cheers,

    Jane.

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  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    I thought “Remember, the squeaky wheel may get the grease but it is also the first to be replaced,” was the best sentence ever…until I read ““Complaining is verbal procrastination. It doesn’t get the job done,” which took 1st place. Great post today.

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  • Mike

    I have worked with companies where people decided to complain to an extent where it got to be preemptive and aggressive at best, and downright destructive at worst. However, I have worked at companies where the situation is so pathetic and the management so aloof, unresponsive and protective, that not complaining would have seemed odd. The big question is, how can companies be so indifferent to their employees and customers? Most people do not get the fact that unhappy employees equal unhappy customers, and the worst part is when certain employees refuse to do their job and their coworkers suffer, yet management continues to take no action. I am complaining about the lack of action, regardless of employee input. In other words, management can see based on results but don’t do their job, and when people pull their attention to the glaring problem, they just say something and do nothing. It’s kind of like your article, but focused on management: why don’t they do anything, even when everybody and their mother is letting them know they have cancer spreading throughout their companies?