Celebrating the water-cooler whinge

According to a recent Gallup poll, a staggering 75% of people said they had left a job because of a manager, leader or boss, making that the most common reason to quit.  We all remember our unfair teachers or an unhelpfully critical relative.  That feeling of being at the mercy of someone with more power than us does not dissipate as we get older;  in fact many dysfunctional employer/employee relationships can mimic previous relationships in our lives and make them loaded with emotion and very difficult to bear.

Management techniques for creating a productive workforce are pretty well known. An open and transparent culture, a positive and realistic attitude to mental health, a no-blame policy, a strong work-life balance, freedom to fail and cleared time devoted to appraisals and problem solving are all valuable tools in the management toolbox.

There’s one that’s frequently overlooked though….what happens when you’re not the one they want?  Sometimes it’s not you, the manager, that can help, and not just if you’re the problem colleague.   Creating a workforce that is dependent solely on you is risky.  What you need is positive alliances, friendships and support networks to be built throughout your organisation so colleagues can problem-solve together…and yes, even grumble about you if that’s what it takes to clear the air.  Yes it can damage the ego slightly to feel that you are not the best person to help, but which would you rather have?  A resignation email or a little water-cooler whinging?