3 benefits of disgruntled employees

We have all been in the meeting where the pointy haired manager speaks and everyone knows the plan is doomed but nobody wants to point out the obvious.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere comes that voice, like nails on a chalkboard, instinctively you cringe because every time this employee speaks their biting tone of voice and an insatiable desire to complain about virtually everything drains you.

This is the person you never want to have lunch or coffee with, much less stand too close to for fear of guilt by association. But…when they speak, there is this part of you that knows the core of their message is right, even though the delivery overshadows pretty much everything they say.

You have been in that meeting, we all have. You may even be that person.

Here are three benefits they provide:

  1. They provide honest information: The good news is that if you can look through the toxic cloud of attitude that comes with what they are saying, they are usually right. Their level of frustration is what drives the negativity, but it is also what compels them to say what everyone else is thinking but is afraid to say.
  2. They care: Assuming a normally stable mental condition, anyone willing to get this worked up about something obviously cares about their work, the company and the customer. It is not uncommon to see the disgruntled employees working long hours to keep things going.
  3. They will step up: The kind of energy it takes to be be really disgruntled is enormous, being that unhappy all the time at work is not easy. Plenty of time goes into stewing on the problems and how to solve them. The anger comes from feeling like there is nothing they can do about it. Carefully listen to what they have to say (take aspirin beforehand), and if there is a point to the complaint, put them in charge of coming up with a plan to fix it. Usually they will be skeptical at first, but soon gain momentum and a positive outlook.

Having a team that gets along well is great, but having people who really care and are willing to say what needs to be said is even more important…when you are willing to listen.

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