Fix It. Achieve in Spite of It. Or Quit.
Here are a couple of quick tips from Robinson's article, "The No Complaining Rule":
1. Get your group together and explain the cost of negativity and complaining.
2. Discuss the difference between mindless and mindful complaining; mindless complaining focuses on problems, whereas justified complaining focuses on solutions.
3. Listen to complaints and solutions and give all of them their airtime. Not all solutions will be used, but let your team know that they will be heard and considered.
4. Celebrate successes of people who turned their complaints into solutions and innovations that benefited the organization.
I don't know if my advice to my friend-"Fix it, achieve in spite of it, or quit"-will equate to change, but it did get me thinking about the positive impact leadership can have on the workforce complaint culture. We all spend a great many hours at our profession. If we are doing this thing right, those hours should be mostly productive and positive.