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Complaining or Whining – the Simple Difference is in the Solution

Complaining or Whining – the Difference is in the Solution

On Linked in, Robert Walters shared some thoughts on why it’s important to encourage employees to shine the light on a problem even if they do not yet have the idea for fixing it.

His post caught my attention because of a Meme featuring Teddy Roosevelt that had the quote, “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.” He linked to an article by Harvard Business Review – which I promptly clicked and read because it’s the second day of November and I’m putting off my #NaNoWriMo because I’m already behind.

Plus, I wanted to think on this idea of complaining not being whining.

I got it the point – or my interpretation of the point – even before I finished the article.

You should encourage employees – and maybe even family (although I have not decided to reveal this to my husband yet) – to share what they see as a problem in the business (or household).

Why Point Out the Problems

  • Problems make room for possibilities. Without problems, we don’t rethink the process. Without rethinking, we may miss something that we had not yet considered.
  • Problems present time for collaboration. Without problems, we don’t always work together to find a solution.
  • Problems create a path for beginnings. Without problems, we miss what isn’t working or what might work even better.

Think on this for a moment. Presenting a problem is like shining a light on that small leak. Maybe that leak isn’t really causing an issue right now, but it will. Even if you don’t know how to fix the leak, pointing it out makes it possible to get the right person on the job to fix it.

That being said, don’t keep pointing out that there is a leak without being willing to get in and help take care of the issue. Bring a towel to clean up. Call a plumber. Do a search online (you can find just about any how-to on the internet these days).

Maybe a better way of saying it is “Complaining without being willing to invest in finding a solution is called whining.”

Complaining or Whining - Kathryn Lang

If you are willing to invest or encourage or in some way help out in the process of possibilities, then point out the problem to your heart’s content.

If you are going to tell me there is a problem and keep telling me there is a problem, then you might be surprised that I actually think you are the problem instead.

What do you think? Should people point out the problem, or should people only share problems that they can solve?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Be blessed,

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