Tony, the tour director, stood at the front of our bus and said with a soft southern drawl, “There are forty strangers here that will spend the next eleven days together in a foreign country and I have one basic rule:

1. No Whinin’

There were plenty of opportunities in the following days to complain, but no one did.  Each time a person would start to complain, they would  mutter no whinin’ and the rest of the group would chuckle.

It sounded silly; but it worked.  When I began to lead international mission teams, I invoked Tony’s rule and mimicked his soft southern drawl with his no whinin’ rule. It is also one of my top five parenting rules.  Here are a few things I’ve learned about whiners:

      • Whiners are like fingernails screeching on chalkboard
      • Whiners can ruin the mood for the entire group
      • Whiners sow seeds of discontent that create more whiners
      • Whiners create distrust because they usually complain about people
      • Whiners cause people to dislike them and then they wonder why
      • Whiners drain co-workers of motivation and enthusiasm
      • Whiners- if left unchecked- can single-handledly destroy the morale of an office or a team

So how do you stop someone from whinin’?  Here are a few suggestions:

    • Create a culture and set the expectation that whining in considered childish
    • Don’t give into their demands; you’ll live to regret it; if the child in the checkout line is whinin’ for candy and gets it, he’ll whine for car when he’s a teen
    • Challenge the whiner to provide his or her own solution
    • Ignore them

There’s a difference between legitimate complaints and whinin’.  The way to differentiates between the two is to see if there is a solution attached to the complaint.

What tricks have you learned to handle a whiner? Please tell me, I’d like to know.

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