Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The No Complaining Rule: A Great Principle for a School Setting

I recently read a great little book called The No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon. Gordon's book is written as a parable of sorts much like another of my favorites, The Ice Cream Maker by Subir Chowdhury.

The premise of the book, as you can guess from the title and the info on the cover, is that complaining in the workplace can lead to negativity in the workplace. Gordon offers a number of strategies for dealing with complainers and complaining. The genius of the book for me lies with two crucial strategies, one of which we've all heard before and one I haven't heard:

First, one should not register a complaint without offering a solution to the problem. This strategy helps prevent mindless complaining. After all, mindless complaining is what leads to negativity. No surprise here. Many of us surely have heard this advice.

Second, and perhaps most important, one should register a complaint only with someone who is in a position to solve the problem. Simple and brilliant. Why didn't someone else articulate this sooner?

For those of us in education, if teachers followed these two simple rules, mindless griping and complaining would cease because teachers would approach only department chairs and administration with complaints and with solutions for the problem(s). The same applies for administration. Administrators should be bound by this rule as well so as to reduce negativity and foster problem-solving at every level.

For those interested in implementing the principles found in The No Complaining Rule, Gordon offers No Complaining Rule Tools including free downloadable posters for the workplace and other printable resources.

If there are complainers in your school, and I'd bet my curriculum budget that there are, you should take a look at this book. It's a quick and easy read with profound advice and simple strategies for reducing negativity in your school or office. If you don't read this book, don't complain to me about negativity in your school.


atara said...

This is cool. But, I can't help but think it looks like a pregnancy test gone a wall. I do like the premise of complaining only to someone who can help. I have a mentor, thank goodness, so my complaining quickly becomes a solution. Mentors have been there and done that. Mine is also quick to tell me when I'm the problem, too! :-)

ontario teacher said...

Great ideas! You articulated what I have always felt - if you can't help with the problem, don't be part of the problem