These unhappy stink bombs waste time, their time and the time of those around them. They waste your time.
So how does an effective leader handle complainers?
First, they model the behavior and attitudes they want their people to demonstrate. Stay out of what Jack Canfield calls “the Ain’t It Awful Club.”
Second, have a one-on-one direct counseling session. Be clear of your expectations. Tell them the outcome if they don’t fix their problem.
Third, schedule the follow-up visit during the first session. Tell them you’ll review their progress at that time.
Fourth, pile on more work. Your biggest complainers are those who are the most under challenged. Explain this to them.
Fifth, institute the 5/10 Rule. Explain that they can complain to you about anything–for five minutes. Then, they owe you ten minutes of their suggestions. They don’t get the five unless they give you the ten. Enforce it.
Then when you hear them griping about something, schedule a 5/10 session.
You have options. Don’t just complain about complainers. Act.