How many times have we witnessed (actively or passively) complaints between colleagues about more or less important issues in the company?
Many professionals in the luxury and hospitality world are used to considering complaints only and exclusively from the side of guests and customers, i.e., they focus their energies on handling the complaints of those who stay and spend time in the facility, but they often forget about those that arise and spread internally.
To understand how important it is to better handle complaints that arise internally within the company, we must explicitly highlight a few points:
- Argumentative and complaint-oriented attitudes hide unexpressed needs
- Over time, unexpressed needs can turn companies into toxic environments
- When the environments have been toxic for too long, it will be very hard to deconstruct and change the mindset of people who tend not to express their needs.
With these assumptions in mind, it is easy now to understand the importance of always taking into account the complaints and “argumentative” attitudes that may arise.
So, what should directors, HR and managers do to best manage these dynamics?
- Develop leadership: handling complaints, despotism, polemics, and people who tend not to express their needs requires strong, structured leadership, which makes us able to take a stand and guide people toward the most effective behaviors for themselves and teams
- Learn not to judge: we are often led to judge those who tend to complain and disregard these attitudes. Beware, ignoring these attitudes can further reinforce them, and this can consequently cause damage to communication and the internal climate
- Help to bring out needs: judging complaints, polemics and passive-aggressive attitudes will hurt yourself and the teams. Remember that a complaint hides a need that is not being effectively expressed. Educate and support people to be empowered to express their discomforts, needs, insecurities, through an attitude of openness, using active listening and creating moments dedicated to them.
On the other hand, what can we do to learn how to best express our needs as professionals and employees?
- Learn how to give direct, targeted feedback to improve internal communication, teams and the overall organization
- Develop more awareness about the emotions that lead us to complaints. In detail, let’s practice this by asking ourselves these questions, “How am I feeling right now?”, “What emotions am I feeling?”, “How can I express my needs while avoiding complaining?”, “Does my manager know my needs and emotions?”
- When we are surrounded by people who are used to complain without taking concrete action, let’s direct them toward a positive attitude by inviting them to talk to their managers, giving feedback and helping them express their needs with all team members.
It only takes a few simple actions and behaviours to prevent complaints and toxic attitudes from spreading without bringing benefits.
Remember, whatever your role in the company, it is equally your responsibility to know how to create a healthy, balanced work environment filled with mindful people.
Martina Dalla Vedova
Hospite – The Italian Hospitality Academy