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The No Complaining Rule

The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at WorkI recently had the opportunity to read The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work by Jon Gordon. In my opinion, this is a must read for any leader who is interested in promoting a positive work culture. As the book states, negativity in the workplace costs businesses billions of dollars, and impacts the morale, productivity, and health of individuals and teams. In fact, according to the Gallup Organization, negativity costs the U.S. economy between $250 and $300 billion each year in lost productivity.

In this book, to reduce negativity and help lessen the harmful effects of complaining, the author gives us an example of a company that implemented a “no complaining rule” where employees were not allowed to mindlessly complain to their coworkers. If they had a problem or complaint, they were encouraged to take the issue to their manager or someone in a position to address it. However, as a requirement of the process, the employee also had to share one or two possible solutions to their complaint.

Does your organization need to implement a no complaining rule? According to the book, there are six principles that every organization must have in place to be successful:

  • A Positive Environment and Culture Are Everything. The best way to deal with negativity is to create a positive culture where negativity can’t breed, grow, and survive.
  • Positive Leadership Is Required. Positive energy flows from the top down; positive leadership is essential.
  • The Secret to Winning. Winning is the by-product of great effort, leadership, coaching, teamwork, and positive energy. Focus on the people, culture, and spirit of the organization, and they will deliver the numbers.
  • Trust Must Permeate the Organization. Say what you are going to do and do what you say. If you lead with truth, success will follow.
  • Fill the Void with Positive Communication. Poor communication and lack of information breed negativity. Confront problems when they occur, but look for opportunities to provide positive communication and interactions with others. According to research cited by the book, work groups with positive to negative interaction ratios greater than 3:1 are significantly more productive than teams that do not reach this ratio.
  • Become Solution and Innovation Focused. Use your communication network to become solution and innovation focused. Listen to employees and encourage them to share their thoughts – turning their great ideas into successful innovations and problems and complaints into solutions.

Whether you completely agree with these six principles, one thing is for sure: ingraining positive energy into the culture and habits of an organization creates a more productive, lower-stress environment – and that’s something no one can complain about.

To learn more about Jon Gordon and The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work, check out: