That girl with the bad attitude.

I think there are 2 different kinds of “bad attitude” people. (In the US we often label complainers as having a bad attitude)

There’s people who resent having a job that for one reason or another they don’t like. So everything is wrong and they have no interest in a solution because they get their satisfaction from the complaint.

And then there’s the people who care. They care deeply and they get angry when things are going badly and no one is fixing it. They complain as well.

A key to good management is sorting the difference. You can turn the people people who care into idea generating dynamos. They come up with effective ideas and make managers look awesome.

The thing is – it is easy to just lump anyone who gripes into a pile of bad attitude and dismiss them with a big “no one likes change” response. But the reality is that it is a bad management technique not to listen to anyone. And it is worse if you can’t discern who is complaining because they resent the job and who is complaining because they actually care about the job.

Complaints are the most important thing a manager can listen to. That is where you get the information you need to make things better.

7 thoughts on “That girl with the bad attitude.

  1. You have hit the nail on the head. It is easy for managers to pile complainers into the same pile, which is a reason the good ones know how to ferret out the constructive criticism. On the flip side it behooves the constructive complainer to know which battles to fight, ones where change can be made. As complaints get passed up the chain of command, people will get more defensive and may criticize the complainer.

    I have put on my Don Quixote armor many a time to fight a windmill trying to save someone from being let go or a change that had been tried and failed before. My efforts were not always well received, but with respect to people it was worth the try.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Management is about figuring out who knows whats wrong and who can fix it, then making sure it gets fixed. I don’t need to be an expert I need to make it easier for the expert to work.

      Experts tend to get bad attitudes. I think a lot of their bad attitudes come from poor management. They need to be heard not dismissed.

      But the higher you go up the food chain in a company the less tolerance there is for bad news. This trickles down to middle and lower management – if you know you will be looked down on for not cheering all the time, you don’t encourage complaints.

      I was a pain in the ass as a manager – I encouraged complainers. I also got a lot of stuff done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good response. In businesses and organizations, the best ideas come from those closest to the action, be it customer service people or production people. So, it is not just complaints, it is complaints with a solution tied with it, or it is an idea that needs bubbling up. The better managers allow that to flow up and give people the freedom and support to do their jobs. Sounds like you advocated for your employees and better ideas/ processes and it showed in performance.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Having taught English at a Business School for years, I know that dealing with complaints was a big issue and taken very seriously – scientifically studied, even. But the concern was over customer complaints – I didn’t notice the same attention being paid to employee complaints. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. Business Schools like the clones they spawn are big on positivity. I’m big on reality. What’s wrong, How can we fix it. But you can’t fix something if you refuse to listen to what’s wrong.


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