Somebody always seems to be whining about something. Before you tune out a whiner, however, be aware that whining is a sign that someone is having a problem and is asking for help. Given the fast-paced, demanding nature of the modern workplace, where everyone is expected to adjust rapidly and respond accurately under pressure, it is a wonder more people are not whining.
Whiners are sometimes just looking for attention. For many, it is the safest way they know to convey their unhappiness without pointing the finger at someone directly.
What you would really like to do is tell these whiners to grow up and get back to work. That would not likely do any good even if it were an accepted behavior. What you need to do instead is get these folks to join you in solving the organization’s problems rather than their own.
As a rule of thumb, the more important meeting goals and producing quality work becomes, the more Doers are likely to complain about their backsliding coworkers.
As tempting as it is to plug the leaks in the payroll or get rid of the dead wood; firing people for nonperformance usually is not effective. That is because when slackers get wind that their performance is being monitored, they will pick up the pace just long enough to survive close scrutiny. Once the threat has passed, they return to business as usual.
Slackers have mastered the art of just getting by so do not expect them to give much constructive thought to improving their relationships with you or with their coworkers.
Does the same problem keep coming back to you despite your coworker’s promise to take care of it? Welcome to the world of misfits where people turn in work that is partially completed or poorly done, hoping someone else will take care of the problem.
Other misfit-type behaviors include coworkers with harmful habits, poor organization skills, or no self-confidence. Misfits also have a history of making bad personal choices. Although such behavior is not new to the workplace, it is becoming more commonplace and increasingly difficult to manage.
Misfits lack the trust to deal openly with coworkers, so they resist structured activities, tend to avoid responsibility, and prefer to be left alone to work at their own pace.
Like most Doers, you probably take it for granted that your coworkers will form teams and work together cooperatively. The truth is that a significant number of today’s workers do not know how to collaborate—it is something they have never been taught.
Some people respond to being taught collectively and tested individually by becoming self-reliant. Seeking opportunities for individual achievement, they sign on for a job valuing only what they can do for themselves—cooperating with you holds no importance.
Loners believe that asking someone for help is cheating. As far back as they can remember anyone caught collaborating was punished both at school and at home.