gripe: Informal, to complain naggingly or constantly; grumble.
For what it’s worth, I always feel that complaining in the workplace or a project is more demotivational than empathical.
Even though a project or a task may be non-rewarding or unwanted, I believe it is essential to always keep people motivated about such assigned tasks. Big or small, all tasks usually affect the part of a bigger picture. Smallest calculation error may cause several business hours of rework in the future. Which could lead to frustration.
Being the positive person that I want to be; I try to sugarcoat the negative things at hand. When I was given a project that was bad mouthed by my superiors (as repetitive, mundane project), a project which at first, thought was a project that I wanted, I felt an extreme negative vibe in the group and my surroundings. It was like everyone was pitying our group for working on the project. It was true that the project was slightly mundane and demanding; however I wasn’t feeling negative towards it, I had even found slight future positive influences which the project was going to benefit me in my development. Nonetheless with the griping around me, I felt like my motivation slightly dropping over time and my performance suffered accordingly. Despite my initial enthusiasm and willingness; rather than motivating or pushing me, my superiors and the environment has demotivated me more than the unwilling task at hand.
On the other hand, there is a reason on which I believe this action occurs in a group; trying to form empathy. I also believe that empathy create strong ties among a hierarchy. Not only I feel like empathy dissolves the hierarchy but it sometimes relieves the stress on the person receiving. Complaining of the superiors sometimes give the feeling that they care; and I strongly believe that it is essential in any relationship.
However when received in larger dozes, similar to in my experience, it apparently has a demotivating factor. Maybe because of the amount of empathy received encourages the person to re-evaluate their options and maybe pursue other tasks to make their efforts more rewarding. Nonetheless, if this is the case, such thoughts and considerations makes the projects suffer and lower the employees’ performance. One things that helped me in most cases is when a superior comes down to your level and assists you slightly on your work. If he or she feels like you are carrying a burden with such a task, it does help to see them bare some of the load. Griping should not go down, because in the end, the employee beneath can not do anything to solve the issue; let along make it easier for you…
Last but not least I want to leave the subject with a quotation from “Saving Private Ryan”. The scene is from one where the group of soldiers have just left their base to save this soldier, in which they complain about the order received which involves risking the lives of almost a dozen men to just save one. Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) does a great job of leadership in clearing such thoughts from their minds so they can focus on their jobs:
Private Jackson: Sir…I have an opinion on this matter.
Captain Miller: Well, by all means, share it with the squad.
Private Jackson: Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.
Captain Miller: Yeah, go on.
Private Jackson: Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift, made me a fine instrument of warfare.
Captain Miller: Reiben, pay attention. Now, this is the way to gripe. Continue, Jackson.
Private Jackson: Well, what I mean by that, sir, is…if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line of sight, sir…pack your bags, fellas, war’s over. Amen.
Private Reiben: Oh, that’s brilliant, bumpkin. Hey, so, Captain, what about you? I mean, you don’t gripe at all?
Captain Miller: I don’t gripe to you, Reiben. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.
Private Reiben: I’m sorry, sir, but uh…let’s say you weren’t a captain, or maybe I was a major. What would you say then?
Captain Miller: Well, in that case I’d say, “This is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover, I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life and the lives of my men…especially you, Reiben…to ease her suffering.”
Mellish: [chuckles] He’s good.
Private Caparzo: I love him.
If you want to relive the moment you can also watch the video: