After a few weeks with the paralegal team, you notice that team meetings often degenerate into little more than complaint sessions. Workers seem to gripe about everything from difficult clients to the temperature in the offi ce. Some of these complaints sound like valid business issues that might require additional training or other employee support efforts; others are superficial issues that you suspect are simply by-products of the negative atmosphere. How should you handle complaints during the meetings?
a. Try to defuse each complaint with humor; after awhile, employees will begin to lighten up and stop complaining so much.
b. Ask employees to refrain from complaining during meetings; after all, these are important business meetings, not random social gatherings.
c. Set up a whiteboard and write down each issue that is raised. After you’ve compiled a list over the course of a week or so, add a problem-solving segment to each meeting, in which you and the team tackle one issue per meeting to determine the scope of each problem and identify possible solutions.
d. Whenever a complaint is raised, stop the meeting and confront the person who raised the issue. Challenge him or her to prove that the problem is a real business issue and not just a personal complaint. By doing this, you will not only identify the real problems that need to be fixed but also discourage people from raising petty complaints that shouldn’t be aired in the workplace.