Will Bowen’s 21-Day complaint free challenge has been getting a lot of media attention lately. It made me wonder why people are finding this challenge so challenging. We, as a society, must be getting something out of complaining or it would be much easier to just stop. How does complaining benefit us?
Both complaining and gossip serve the same purpose. They either create or maintain relationships. If you look at the complaints and gossip happening at work, are they being used to create bonds between co-workers? Do the complainers feel united in their cause to expose wrongs or injustices? As Will Bowen explains, complaint filled workplaces can become toxic, unproductive, miserable places to be.
In circular thinking, relationships are at the core of everything. So, looking at complaining through a circular lens, there must be a better way to create and maintain relationships than using destructive, unproductive behaviours. How can organizations build a culture that is based on positive relationship building? Harvard Business Review’s article on Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive, sets out a 4-step model to create a culture where relationships are created and maintained without the need to resort to these negative approaches.
We all know neither a culture nor habits are changed over night. Research shows it takes 21 days to break a habit. (Perfect timing for a challenge.) But when we start relating to each other from a positive approach, we will find we are not only more productive, but we also will discover the authentic relationships we’ve been looking for.
What purposes do complaining and gossip serve in your workplace?
What are some positive approaches to belonging and connecting to colleagues you have found successful?