It’s incredibly important to get frustrations clear from your mind; it’s what makes us think clearly so we can dominate the day. I have made some mistakes along my own leadership journey from venting my frustrations at the wrong time and with the wrong people. I have compiled a list of things to consider before the mouth begins to dictate some painful career choices.
- Who: most people might think that your peers are a great resource to vent to when things aren’t going well. Depending on what steam you are releasing, this could actually prove to be dangerous. If you have any ambition to move forward in your career, those peers will have a lot to do with that choice. Supporting your direct peers in a positive way will make you stand out as a team player, its best to stick with someone you can trust like a friend who works in the same industry.
- Timing: the best time to vent is not during, or right after a crisis or major issue. Although it’s the time we need it the most, or at least we think we do, it can be filled with extreme negativity almost to the point you will surprise those who feel they know you well. Letting out frustration is a very emotional process; don’t add to the fire by doing it right after or during the problem.
- Self-heal: evaluating whether the problem or stress factor is really as important as you think it might be is a great training tool for effectively handling situations. Our first instinct when dealing with a difficult situation is to include others in our circumstance. Remember that if you are a leader, venting immediately after each circumstance will never allow you to process and work through conflict on your own. Try to own the situation and focus on your inner self to clear the stress– without letting it build.
- Resolution: think about the last time someone vented to you about their electric bill, a topic you knew nothing about, or how a mutual friend behaved and you disagreed. Was it awkward? Did it make you scrounge for commonality? During the process of venting, depending on your audience you have a very small amount of time to get the heat out, and move on! If your audience is completely engaged you need to vent, collaborate and resolve. If your audience is completely disengaged you should vent, thank them for listening and quickly move on.
- Frequency: try to evaluate how often you vent vs. praise. Are you the negative employee and you don’t even realize it? Think about your daily conversations and who you interact with, think about the impact you have on their morale. If you are known as the one that will constantly stir up issues, you will lose the reputation with many of your colleagues and even your leader.
The next time you are about to let it spill out, make sure you take some time to evaluate the list above. If you are working through a development plan with an employee, or have someone in your personal life that is guilty of always being negative- work through this article together. Always remember your impacts on a positive life, and develop daily!