Do you have employees on staff whose constant gripes are getting in the way of their jobs—and yours? One of the toughest things about restaurant management is learning how to handle complaining employees.
Put a Stop to Complainers
Here’s how to handle your constant complainers and get them back to work:
Create an environment where the complainer feels “heard.” Perhaps the complainer just wants someone to listen.
Don’t just pretend to listen. Open your ears and don’t pass judgment. Ask questions. It shows you have an interest — and you might even learn something useful.
Overcome the urge to argue. Just tell the complainer where you stand.
Negotiate a workable solution, if there is one. Ask the complainer what they want done. Even better, ask how they would improve things.
Plainly tell the complainer what you can and can’t do about the complaints. Be honest, and don’t over-promise something you can’t deliver.
Don’t join in a gripe session. While listening, you may be tempted to gripe, too. Don’t. The complainer may enjoy the company of another complainer. But that kind of attention will only bring you more grief.
Ask the complainer to stop. When the employee shows up in your office repeatedly with the same minor complaints, be firm. Point out what steps you’re taking to solve the problems and explain that continually complaining doesn’t help the restaurant team overall.
Recognize Actual Issues
Be careful not to dismiss all complaints as inconsequential. Sometimes an employee’s complaint may be a true opportunity to improve something in your restaurant. Opposing views can bring about productive and positive change for your operation. Yes, it’s true — listening to complaints with an open mind can lead to:
- Better decisions.
- Creative changes.
- Improved relationships.
- Unity of team purpose.
- Increased collaboration & high performance teams.
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