How to Complain Smarter, Not Harder

So how can you complain at work the right way? Let me show you!

How to Complain Smarter, Not Harder
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We all have something to complain about at work. Maybe it's a difficult boss, a demanding client, or a frustrating project. But complaining too much or too poorly can backfire and damage your reputation, relationships, and career prospects. So how can you complain at work the right way?

According to an excellent Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenbarger, there are some strategies that can help you complain effectively and constructively.

Here are some of them:

  • Cool your jets. Before you vent your frustration, take some time to calm down and assess the situation. What do you hope to achieve by complaining?
  • Make it about problems, not people. Avoid personal attacks or insults when you complain. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements to express your feelings and needs.
  • Focus on the positive; focus on solutions. Don't just complain about what's wrong; also acknowledge what's working well and what you appreciate. Show that you are not just a complainer, but a problem-solver who wants to improve the situation.
  • Be respectful and polite. Even if you are angry or frustrated, don't let your emotions get the best of you. Be courteous and professional when you complain.
Complaining at work can be tricky, but if done well, it can help you resolve conflicts, improve your work environment, and advance your career. The key is to complain with grace, tact, and purpose.