Harry E. Chambers. 1999. Getting Promoted: Real Strategies for Advancing Your Career. Perseus Publishing.
1. Be empathetic, never sympathetic Don't buy into their issues with your sympathy. Empathy is acknowledgment of a problem. Sympathy is feeling sorry for them or creating an emotional connection with their problem.
2. Give attention for solutions, not problems Complainers want attention for their problems. Deny them that payoff. Be responsive to them only when they focus on solutions.
3. Never lower your expectations Never allow the problems of complainers to lessen their responsibility and accountability.
4. Define your role Use this communication technique: "Help me understand what you would like me to do. Do you need someone to talk to, just to vent? Or would you like some help with a solution?"
5. Listen to their problems one time After listening once, if they continue to repeat them, counter by saying, "Is this the same information that we talked about before? Has anything changed since then? Is there anything different? If not, I don't know how to help you and I don't think it is worthwhile for us to spend our time talking about it again.