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You see problems that need fixing, but your boss just thinks you like complaining.

The difference between complaining and airing problems is whether or not there is a willingness to help solve the problem. That support can come in the form of offering solutions, presenting facts and data, or volunteering for a project team. How an issue is aired goes a long way to determining how it will be handled.


You see problems that need fixing, but your boss just thinks you like complaining.

How this affects you

You want to discuss problems with your manager without worrying about repercussions. If you think your boss views your concerns as complaints, you might feel annoyed that you are not being listened to. Worse, you might become worried that you are going to be labeled as a troublemaker. In either case, you won’t be able to rally any support to fix the problem you are trying to address.

Action to take

Try to find the root cause of a problem before you approach your boss. If you do not have time to do detailed research, at least be able to provide a starting point that shows you are interested in identifying the problem. Then, offer a couple of possible solutions to jumpstart the problem-solving process. As an example, consider this simple sentence: “We are out of parts, again.” Do you recognize this as a complaint? Now, weigh that against this fact and solution-packed sentence: “Can we get a kaizen to speed up re-ordering?…

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Why this works

The Why this Works section is only available in print copies of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?.


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