Stop the whining

A question I get asked a lot is…"how do I stop the whining?"

If you want to change the way people talk to you, change the way you respond.   Let the team know that if they come to you with a problem, you expect them to present a solution as well. 

Example 1

Adam comes to you and asks, "What should I do about customer X, they want..." 

You:  What do you think you should do?

Adam:  I dunno. 

You:  Consider it for a moment, what are your options?  

Adam:  Wow, you are really going to make me do this, huh?  Okay, I think I should ….

You:  Sounds good.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out. (Notice the opportunity for positive feedback when they do it and it works!)

Example 2

If the concern is about a co-worker, use the same technique.

Gwen:  Blake is doing this and it bothers me.

You:  Have you spoken to Blake about this?

Gwen:  No.  You’re the boss, I thought you could fix it.

You: I’m confident in your ability to work this out with Blake and I think he would prefer to hear about it directly from you.

Gwen:  Well, I can try.

You:  Sounds good.  I appreciate you working on this and am confident you can handle it.