Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book Review: The No Complaining Rule

The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at WorkThe No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work by Jon Gordon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all need more "Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work." Sometimes we are the center of negativity ourselves and sometimes we have a co-worker who is. Either way, this book is a strong contribution to the self-help literature.  Writing fable-style, with a lead character whose personal and professional life is headed south, Gordon gives us a way to connect our own situations with his master thesis.  Chronic venting is not productive... it creates a downward spiral of negativity that makes everyone feel rotten and does not solve the problem.  The best way to avoid this situation is to avoid it - to implement and enforce a rule against complaining in the workplace. 

Got a problem? Fine, let's talk about it.  What is your proposed solution?

I felt like I benefited a lot by reading this little tale.  I took the Are You A Complainer? Self-Assessment and got a bit of a wake up call.  I have become more aware of my tendency to grumble and moan - and I try to keep myself from wearing out others with my irritation du jour.  I've even stopped myself mid-sentence and apologized to whoever I was dumping on.  Most people are too polite to say "Thank God you get it now" but they may well be thinking it.  So, thanks Mr. Gordon.

A word of caution: I tried to introduce the rule to a group I was consulting with and it backfired big time.  I had been hired to help a work team implement a new set of rules they absolutely did not like. Many of those involved were not past being mad at the upper administration of their organization, so when I introduced the rule in an effort to give them a way to take back some control over their quality of work life, I was seen as casting blame.  In retrospect, it would have been better to hold on to this one until someone within the group surfaced the negative work atmosphere as an issue.  Live and learn.

If you like fables... and you want to work on yourself or find strategies for dealing with coworkers who suck up time and energy with endless caterwauling, pick this one up.  You'll be glad you did! Here's a link to a downloadable two-page summary of four of my favorite fable-style books with a leadership message.

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