Have you heard of Google's "New" Complaint Translator? Me neither! But I have good news, I have a few tips that might help you translate complaints better anyway.
Whether you are a perky up beat person that dreads hearing anything negative, or a serious disciplined worker bee, or you are entirely something else, you have your own tools to deal with complaints in a productive manner. If the thought of a complaint makes you feel like super man standing next to kryptonite; complaints no longer have to make you feel drained.
First, recognize the type of complaint that is your kryptonite. Believe it or not, we don't all respond to the same complaints the same way. For example: If you have a very consistent approach to how you manage projects and you have an employee who is always looking to improve things. You might find it particularly annoying to hear suggestions about doing a specific task a "new" way that they think would be better, when you have it mastered, and have been doing it "your" way for a long time. So what do you do?
Grumble under your breath. Nod politely and keep doing what you are doing. Wonder why they can't just do it the way you want them to. Explain that your way works. Wonder if you can ever find good help and should you start looking again.
These are all options, but none of them will change how you feel the next time the exact same situation happens again, and IT WILL.
So if you want to be a strong and clear leader, the second thing you need to do is be honest about what is annoying you. If you can be specific about what you are hearing the other person saying, then you can consider if the complaint has any validity. Is it a talent, or a skill, or a curiosity that needs direction? Keep in mind you might not recognize the value of the complaint if the person's style of handling problems and challenges feels foreign to you. It may take some practice. You may have to smile to yourself and think about the hidden treasure you have yet to fully discover and utilize.
And before you get annoyed and think, hey wait, this is about me, not my employee, this leads me to the third point; Could this be an opportunity to explain more clearly what you need your employee to do and why? If your goal is to work as effectively as possible with your employees, co-workers, or family members for that matter, then listening for the reasons why they are complaining is a good start. After all, looking for the possible benefit of their view could be a win-win. There could be a good idea or a timely observation in the complaint, but even if there isn't, you have approached it with respect which creates safe soil for future conversations.
All this talk about complaining is actually very positive and it will help you be happier and love your employees more!
If you want to have fun learning more about complaints and sharpen your tools for better communication with your employees, or anyone you work or live with, then sign up for my upcoming FREE workshop. Registration is required and lunch is included.