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Business Etiquette 101--A Professional Does Not Make Unofficial Complaints

Let me ask you a question, “Do you enjoy working with or spending time with those that habitually complain?”  I already know your answer.  Have you ever noticed that when people start complaining, they typically do not start my asking, “Hey do you all mind if I just unload my life right now onto you, so you can carry some of it too?”  But, they should!  That’s what’s happening right?

A professional does not complain, ever.  Now before we get all knotted up inside, let me add…a professional never makes unofficial complaints.  An unofficial complaint is simply complaining with no purpose other than to “let off steam,” build our own support for our anger or to tear down the ones we are complaining about.  On the other hand, an official complaint is when we are unhappy or unsatisfied with the functioning of a team, project, policy etc, yet we have a solution of how to make it better.  If we have a solution for improvement, then we have an official complaint.

We handle official complaints by taking them to our superior and asking permission to share our idea.  If our superior does not respond in a way that is satisfactory to us, then we must decide whether or not to take our official complaint to the next person in the chain of command.  We can do this, once we have informed our superior that we are doing so.

A professional knows the difference in official and unofficial complaints.  A profession remembers that everyone has a right to come to work and just work, focusing on the job at hand.  Yes, of course we all have personal and professional stressors that we need to discuss with others at times, but we should be extremely careful about how and who we relay these frustrations.  Work is not the place to unload unofficial complaints about the job, our spouse, our co-workers, the weather, etc.  

Let’s make sure that you and I are contributors to the positive energy in our place of work and let’s make sure that we do not distract from the job at hand.  Have a great month.


For information regarding Business Etiquette Training for your staff, please email Monica at: monica@TheEtiquetteFactory.com