The Question that Taps the Power of Complaining

Just say it, “Everyone sucks at some things.”

Call a leadership team meeting to gripe about weaknesses.

Write your direct reports’ names on a whiteboard and list their weaknesses. Illustrate the list with behaviors. 

  • What do you wish Bob would do better?
  • What is Mary doing poorly?
  • When Fred fails, what is he not doing?

Stop pretending everyone is great at everything.

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Pick the scab off weaknesses or you’ll meet frustration every morning.

When teammates don’t have weaknesses:

  1. Leadership needs to know their team members better.
  2. Team members are pulling the wool over leadership’s eyes.
  3. Organizational values include, “Don’t make waves,” and, “Let’s play pretend.”

Weakness axiom:

Remarkable weaknesses accompany remarkable strengths. The more outstanding someone is, the greater their corresponding weakness.

The Question that Taps the Power of Complaining:

What are you willing to do about your complaints?

The more you complain, the more opportunities you create.

  1. Prioritize. Is this weakness worth addressing? “No,” is an option. Smile and carry on. Stop being so frustrated about things you don’t care to change.
  2. Buy-in. What are you willing to do to strengthen their weakness, specifically?
  3. Minimize. How might you minimize a weakness?
  4. Reassign. What responsibility do you need to take away to protect them from their weakness?
  5. Refocus. How might you focus someone toward greater usefulness?

Side benefit:

You spend less energy pretending and more energy performing, when your weaknesses are known.

Real fun:

Weaknesses are like noses.

If you want some real fun, call the leadership team together and write your own names on the whiteboard. (I assume you’re committed to seek each other’s highest good.)

Warning: Don’t pick the scab off, if you don’t have courage and compassion to deal with the blood. Just go on pretending.

How might leaders tap the power of complaining?

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