HUMAN RESOURCES / AUG. 26, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Handle Complaints About Your Work

We all have those days when we work on a project or write a report that just doesn’t cut the grade. Times like these constitute an employee’s worst job experience, especially when the supervisor comes breathing fire on you. Even when you think you have done your best, you might end up with negative reviews.

So, how do you handle complaints about your work?

Understand the Complaint

More often than not, the complaints about your work will be legitimate. Although you feel you did what was required, the higher-ups often give more scrutiny to detail to maintain the firm’s standards. You may have, for instance, included the wrong values in the worksheet, hence the wrong projections. Analyze the reasons for the complaint and take time to understand the supervisor or manager’s point of view.

Avoid Offering Many Excuses

Instead of trying to justify your approach, own your mistakes. This helps to avoid unnecessary arguments. Giving many excuses for your faults does not portray a good impression of your work ethics. If you feel you are right and the supervisor is wrong, do not present your views immediately, especially if you are angered. Ideally, you should give yourself an hour to calm down before taking up the issue with the supervisor.

Remain Positive

Some work-related complaints are malicious. If you like, you can call them the offspring of office or organizational politics. The head of department may have left and you are the most suited for the position. However, some malicious coworkers may file a complaint with the human resources manager with a view of damaging your reputation. In such instances, you should remain positive. Be truthful and stick to your principles.

Learn from Complaints

When complaints are lodged against you, don’t take it as though you are the most incompetent worker in the office. Other workers often receive complaints about their work too. You might be the new hire who has not quite mastered the skills. Learn from the complaints. That way, you can easily avoid future complaints on the same issues.

Promise to Improve

It is amazing how simple words can settle complaints about your work. Imagine sitting at your desk and suddenly receiving a call asking you to report to the manager’s office. Instinctively, you realize the call must have something to do with the report you just handed in. If you didn’t do a stellar job, arm yourself with the right words. You could say you have had a feeling that the report was missing something, but couldn’t figure it out in time. End the conversation with a promise to do a better job next time.

File a complaint

Use this strategy as a last resort. If you feel a supervisor or mid-level manager is consistently being unfair or irrational about your work and have solid proof, it is high time you also filed a complaint with the relevant office, usually HR. Most organizations recognize the impact of workplace conflicts and have clear policies for settling employee grievances.

Finally, it is important to address any reservations you may have about a work-related complaint as soon as possible. When mishandled, these complaints can quickly get out of hand. Also, to minimize the volume of complaints coming your way, strive to deliver your best.

 

Further Reading

ACAS: Managing a complaint at work: A step-by-step guide

 

Image Sourced: Big Stock Photos

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