How to manage a constantly complaining employee

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How to manage a constantly complaining employee

Employers play a major role in shaping their workplace culture. A healthy work environment improves the team’s productivity, gives job satisfaction and encourages employee engagement. For building a thriving culture, it is important to keep negativity out of the workplace. Employees who complain about their jobs and are dissatisfied with the job culture should address their issues. Every office and job has its attractions and challenges. Chronic complainers erode workplace morale by constantly focusing on the company’s downside. These kinds of employees find problems in every situation, whether it is a new policy or new method to adopt to complete a task.

Having a negative or constantly complaining employee or nelly in a team can affect a team’s productivity. It might also influence other team members who may not want to collaborate with the complainer on team projects. Their behaviour might encourage other people and new staff to behave the same way.

What are employment gaps on resumes?

Though the term is self-explanatory, technically, an employment gap is considered the period a job candidate was not professionally engaged with a company or organization. The decision can be voluntary or involve external factors for the gap period.

There is no specific tenure that can be regarded as a short or long employment gap, but having a gap of more than nine months can be considered a drawback in the resume.

How do chronic complainers affect the work environment?

Working with a chronic complainer is extremely exhausting. You know their type and nothing can make them happy. A chronic complainer employee finds fault in management’s every utterance. Some employees complain about workload constantly. Their implicit behaviour can impact other employees’ thinking towards the organization and make them operate with a fatal deficiency of intelligence and common sense. Hiring authorities should keep a check on this kind of employees, and managers should act immediately to stop this behaviour before they begin to damage the morale or the teammates. Their behaviour is a threat to the team’s working environment. Every management situation has right and wrong approaches to handling difficult people.

The difference between negative people and chronic

Often, chronic complainers emerge in office environments where performance standards and employee behaviour are poorly defined. Also, where there’s no one to enforce accountability for actions, any organization should articulate values and make them an integral part of the work culture. When the company’s values are not pre-defined and unclear, it is important for the organization to establish values and goals for the employees who will create a healthy work environment. . Holding people accountable to follow through with their actions can be a remedy for complaining employees. Setting a ‘complaining’ work environment is culturally inappropriate in a work environment and should be every HR’s call and narrated in various company departments.

Where an optimist sees a glass half full of water. A negative person sees the glass as half empty. A chronic complainer can see the water which is not cold enough. They see the smear on the rim, stating the glass wasn’t cleaned properly and fear some virus that might end up making them sick. Chronic complainers might not always have a negative outlook on life, but they would want everyone to know that things are never good enough. Their mind works on the negative aspect of the things they are surrounded with, and they are only aware of one way to respond- with negativity. They don’t know how to express themselves in a positive light.

How to manage a constantly complaining employee

Best employees constantly impress you with their work and the positive impact they have on others. Whereas a complaining employee will always find faults in the system, people’s behavior and whatnot.

Let’s find out how to deal with those negative elements in the company-

Don’t ever tell them that things “aren’t so bad.”

Leaders unintentionally convey to employees that it is okay to complain while asking them to share the problems employees face during work. It is a good way of knowing the problems they are facing. It’s a leader’s job to have a difficult conversation and find a solution to the problem in an appropriate manner. Employees who are always complaining about their workload should not feel personally criticized while finding out a solution, or they will likely react with anger and defensiveness.

Stop (Accidentally) Asking For Perfectionism

Most leaders are excellent in their work and expect the same from their team members too. However, when leaders start criticizing employees and constantly start pin-pointing errors and shortcomings in work execution, the latter might start feeling embarrassed, angry, and defensive. The alternative  way is to encourage every effort and provide them with an opportunity to improve while they continue to learn and become perfect. It is often seen that when leaders start pointing out every minor mistake found at work, employees tend to go to the coffee corner and lose interest in work.

Not Everything Is A Priority -Clarify Priorities and ask for completion

Many employees’ complaints revolve around feeling uncertain, overburdened with work, and unclear about the deliverables. They simply believe they cannot meet “unrealistic” management expectations. This also contirbutes to a remarkable amount of procrastination and stressed employees who always complain at work. Providing them clarity on deliverables, removing lower-priority projects and helping them to map out small, achievable goals can remove a lot of confusion that generates complaints.

Appreciate genuinely

In corporates, appreciation works both ways – while giving and receiving, Appreciation shifts how we view the world and helps us to focus on the positive perspective of anything. A genuine appreciation can be difficult for many leaders who generally praise the employees with – “great job” or “thank you.” For genuinely appreciating your subordinates, focus on the person and their efforts instead of just their results. For example, if a team member who is executing any project has stayed calm while a client is furious, praise their composure and commitment towards the client relationship. Similarly, complaining is a normal part of human nature. It is normal to vent your frustrations and stay connected with others over a common enemy. However, allowing a work culture of complaining within a team can sometimes prove healthy too, as it helps the team to perform at their best. Try to keep your team motivated, engaged, and always performing while empowering them with positivity.

Keep Competition Friendly

Friendly competition helps to engage employees and keep toxicity at bay.

It is a better way of dealing with complaining employees. A toxic competition is deadly for team culture.

Companies reward employee teams for the best performance. It can sometimes create unfortunate circumstances where employees are pitted against one another and try to make others look bad. Instead, competitiveness should redefine any company’s culture to make them perform better next time in projects that seem impossible to many.


Most chronic complainers at work truly see their entire career, rather lives as full of hardship and challenges. Some people’s lives are full of hardships and tragedy. But, referring to people here whose lives are not unusual in this regard, still complain about the mishappenings in their lives. A chronic complainer’s perceptions about their hardships are deeply embedded in their personality, which becomes their identity. Although they speak about their problems all the time, they are not really looking for advice or solutions to exit that mindset and state of mind. When your advice would actually resolve a problem, chronic complainers will not be happy to hear that. Anything that takes away some recognition of their “hardship” can be experienced as a threat to their identity and even their sense of self. They often respond to sound pieces of advice either by explaining reasons that it won’t work or will become upset that the person’s help is of no use.

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