We all get frustrated with colleagues from time to time. But complaining about a coworker behind their back can be destructive. It erodes trust on the team, risks hurting the person’s feelings, and makes you look bad.
The next time you’re tempted to complain about someone, stop and ask yourself why. If it’s to justify your feelings or to confirm that you’re right, don’t do it.
On the other hand, if you’re having a problem with a coworker and want someone else’s take on the issue, or you want to brainstorm helpful solutions, then talk it out professionally.
Finally, when someone comes to you for a gripe session, pivot the conversation away from complaining and toward problem solving. You can also adopt a “tell them first” policy with your colleagues, meaning you’ll let someone vent to you about a coworker — as long as they’ve already talked to that coworker about the issue.
Adapted from “Stop Complaining About Your Colleagues Behind Their Backs," by Deborah Grayson Riegel