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A good manager seeks out and listens to complaints.
Complaints reveal priorities. When someone complains about a problem in the workplace, what they are really revealing is something that matters to them.
However, it's not enough to just listen to complaints and respond. A good manager is able to help people turn their complaints into commitments. In addressing this subject, Kegan and Lahey use the example of a person who complains that they are kept out of the loop on important projects. Turning this into a commitment resulted in the statement "I believe in open and candid communication."
Next, a good manager encourages people to ask how their OWN actions contribute to the problem. Phrasing it in a positive manner, "What are you doing or not doing, that is keeping your commitment from being more fully realized?" (Kegan and Lahey, 87).
Lastly, a good manager helps people overcome hesitation about making personal changes. "If you imagine doing the opposite of the undermining behavior, do you detect in yourself discomfort, worry or vague fear?" "By engaging in this undermining behavior, what worrisome outcome are you committed to preventing?" (88)
Managers who respond to complaints in this way will unlock the potential of their employees, and their company.