How to Voice a Complaint

solution“Complaint has a noble history. It has driven human society forward and led to the abolition of systemic injustice. That it is now primarily associated with inconsequential moans and frivolous litigation is a travesty.”
~ Julian Baggini, Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests, Profile Books, 2010

Imagine this: You have a great idea that would change the way you work. In fact, you totally disagree with the systems or processes everyone’s been using. You have a legitimate complaint that needs to be heard by your supervisor, leadership team and/or coworkers.

But how do you voice dissent without being perceived as negative—or worse, a whiner?

“Dissent plays an important role in the workplace,” writes Johny T. Garner, a Texas Christian University communications professor, in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post (“How to Communicate Dissent at Work,” February 4, 2013). “For any organization to thrive, employees need to be able to propose solutions to problems, raise questions about unethical practices and ask how they can work more efficiently and effectively.”

Employees report greater job satisfaction in workplaces where dissenting opinions are accepted and even encouraged. Leaders should strive to create an open culture where people can consider a wider range of proposals and options before making decisions.

This article explores the risks of dissent, and suggests four steps to voicing a complaint effectively for positive impact.

This is a brief synopsis of an 900-word article and Article Nuggets,*suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete article includes these important concepts:

  • The Danger of Dissent
  • How to Choose Your Audience
  • How to Choose Your Tone
  • How to Choose Your Words
  • When to Dissent

If you are a Content for Coaches client and your account is current, no need to order. Send me an email to confirm that you wish to use this article for your next newsletter.

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1.    How to Voice a Complaint 900-word Article with Full Reprint Rights, $57 –


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*Article Nuggets: The same article broken up into 3-5 blog-style sections suitable for a series of blog posts or shorter newsletter articles.

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