To have better relationships at work and at home, stop criticizing, complaining about, or blaming the people in your life.

I know… it’s hard.

I’m working on this myself, and let’s say I’m falling short quite often (as my kids will tell me!).

So what could you do instead?

Make a… REQUEST.

So instead of saying, “You have the music turned up too loud” (a complaint), you could say, “Would you be willing to turn the volume lower? I’m trying to read and am finding it difficult to concentrate.”

(Saying the music is too loud indicates you’re the sole decision-maker as to what volume is considered too loud. It also focuses on what the other person is doing “wrong” and doesn’t ask for a specific action.)

Instead of saying, “Your PowerPoint has errors in it. Your work is sloppy” (a criticism), you could say, “I noticed your PowerPoint had spelling errors on pages 3, 7, and 9. I’d like to request that you correct them. In the future, I’d like to request that you correct any spelling errors before you send the document to me.”

(The phrase “Your work is sloppy” isn’t necessary to get the outcome you prefer. However, it is very effective at being demotivating and damaging relationships.)

Instead of saying, “We missed the project deadline because your contribution was 12 hours late” (blaming), you could say, “Next time, I’d like to request that you turn your part of the project in on time. We are on a tight timeline, and being on time really helps.”

As I tell my staff and my kids, “Turn your complaints into requests”… and as my kids say to me, “Yeah Dad, you can turn your complaints about us into requests too!”

(And yes, they are correct.) 🙂


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