The corrosive effect of grumbling and complaining

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 3 – Cultivate the attitude of thankfulness until it is a habit

Ingratitude doesn’t stay silent for long. It inevitably turns into grumbling out loud, which is an even worse problem. It has a corrosive and poisonous effect on everybody. It harms the person complaining. Plus it undermines those who listen to it, and especially those who begin to join in with it. That’s another dangerous feature of moaning. It is highly contagious.

Any member of staff in a workplace who is prone to complaining will soon cause others to join in. An atmosphere of discontent and resentment will then quickly spread all around that office or factory. Within weeks, a happy workforce can be turned into a sour, embittered group through the influence of just one or two regular complainers. They will have most of the others focusing on every place where the “glass is half empty”. They too will then start seeing things in the most negative light possible, rather than choosing to see those things as opportunities, learning experiences, or even privileges.

I’ve come to the conclusion now, after many years’ experience in business, that I will not recruit or continue to employ an unhappy, complaining person. I mean someone who is habitually like that and who chooses to remain so. They are always unproductive, disruptive and divisive. They also drag down those who are around them and make them unproductive too.

It would be difficult to over-state the harm that a regularly discontented person can do. They would probably do less harm to your business if they went around pouring acid over the furniture and equipment. The harmful effect of that would probably be less expensive than the damage caused by allowing habitual complainers to work for you.

The influence always seems to operate in only one direction. Complainers never get ‘dragged up’ to the level of the happy staff. They always seem to bring the contented people down to their level. So, in my business, I learned to take it seriously, just as God does. I took decisive action to exclude, or even remove, such people. I prefer that they go to work for someone else, who is less particular about what type of staff he takes on.

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