Friday, March 25, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Reward a Complainer

It's sometimes said that to get rid of a company's problems, get rid of the guy who shows you the longest list of complaints. Problems gone! The problems disappears with the complainer.

When I start a job, I will always tell people, "I'm not afraid of your complaints, your questions or your opinions. I am afraid of your silence." Complaints can tell you about what's happening in a company that you might not be able to discover on your own. People act differently around management. They change the way they talk; they speak differently around their peers than they do around other managers. In fact, they speak differently around their own manager than they do with another manager. You might not be getting the real scuttlebutt, with all the tones, inflections and nuances, that they'd share with someone else.

If you're open to complaints, you have a better chance. In one company, anytime the president asked a question, people took it as a command. In fact, sometimes I was asked if they should do what the president wanted. They didn't agree with what he suggested. When I asked what the president said, they repeated the question. I told them it was just a question and they needed to answer the question by sharing their opinion. Sometimes they were fearful. Rarely were they willing.

Today, make sure at least one person is willing to complain to you. And thank them for it. In fact, figure out a way to make them a positive example, a role model for others.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, we are encouraged to bless those who persecute us. Now complaints aren't the same as persecution, but they can feel annoying at times and inconvenient at others. Take time to appreciate the complaints.

No comments:

Post a Comment