The Complainer

By Laura Benjamin

They avoid taking responsibility. These are the people who find fault with everything, but may be some legitimacy to their complaints. They use an accusatory tone, and come across as powerless, fatalistic, morally perfect, and self-righteous.

Coping Strategies:

  • Break the self-fulfilling cycle of passivity, blaming, and powerlessness by insisting on a problem solving approach. Ask for complaints in writing, ask open-ended questions, and assign them to fact-finding tasks.
  • Listen attentively. They may just need to blow off steam, which could provide information that's important to you.
  • Be prepared to interrupt and take control. Pin them down to the specifics.
  • Don't agree. Agreeing only validates for them that it is your fault and they are blameless.
  • If all else fails, ask them how they would like the discussion to end; what results do they want to achieve?

Other personality types:

Laura Benjamin is the owner of "Laura Benjamin International," an international speaking, training, coaching and consulting firm specializing in workplace relations and professional development issues. Her programs include, "Got STRESS? Balancing Work & Life," "Call of the Wild…Dealing with Difficult People," and "A Manager's Guide to Developing Your People." Contact her by phone: 719-266-8088, email:, or visit her website at