Complaining Is Contagious

I went to dinner last night in Denver with some good friends of mine and we were all enjoying great conversation and the perfect weather on the patio.  As the evening went on, something started to change.  First of all the service absolutely sucked.  It was one of those restaurants where two or three people bring you your food and drinks.  The problem was not one of those three people had a clue about customer service.  I tried to make a joke about something and one of the servers just responded by complaining about what a long day it was.  That triggered a slow chain reaction throughout the course of the evening.  I complained about the service.  One of my friends complained about their meal.  I, of course, complained a little more about the service and by the time the bill came we were all ready to just get the hell out of there.

Does this ever happen in your leasing office?  Of course it does.  Does it ever happen in your leasing office when residents or prospects are there?  Let’s hope it doesn’t, but also recognize that the lingering effects of this chain reaction may still be present.

So what can you do about it?  One of my former employers tackled it head on and actually poked fun at it.  They started a “No Whining Zone” campaign company wide and actually made buttons that employees were given to wear to remind each other that it wasn’t a productive trait.  As a supervisor, you can simply lead by example and not complain yourself.

Complaints can also be productive and lead to improvements so you need to create an environment where people can speak their mind without it hindering morale.  In meetings you can have people phrase their complaints or concerns in a positive manner and also come up with solutions to their own complaint.  This maintains morale and a strong team dynamic, but also relieves the team of any distractions.


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