Venting at Work: Helpful or Hurtful?
Expert advice usually tells you to share your emotions and not keep problems bottled up. You’ve probably also heard that having a trusted friend you can talk to is a good thing. Don’t misunderstand – these are definitely all positive things. But what does this look like within the workplace? Are venting coworkers cathartic? Or problematic?
Feedback, in theory, is good. After all, employers can’t fix a problem for their employees if they don’t know the issue even exists. The problem is that most venting around the office is done to blow off steam and not to work toward a solution. Most of this venting doesn’t even reach the level within the company where something could be done.
We spend a large majority of our day at our workplace. Venting is going to happen. How do we make sure it’s done in a way that’s not going to become destructive?
The negative issues are going to arise, and you are going to want to vent. There’s almost no way around it. Make sure that for all the venting, there’s an equal amount of positive discussion. Take stock of the conversations you are having. If you find yourself always feeling disgruntled after leaving a conversation about work, it’s probably time to inject a little positivity into them.
When we are constantly dwelling on the negative around the office, it’s hard to see the positive. If we’re going to be so observant of the negative things happening, we need to be just as observant and verbal about the positive aspects of the office.
Consider your coworkers before you start venting. There is a fine line between venting and complaining, and complaining can quickly become toxic within the workplace. There are people who are such notorious complainers that no one wants to be around them for fear of being made miserable with negativity. Before you drag other coworkers down, think through what you’re about to say and decide if it’s really necessary.
It’s not that a good leader doesn’t have complaints. A good leader does, however, know when and how to voice those complaints in way that’s not toxic. If you’re a leader in your company or even if you just aspire to be a leader, you need to be aware of how contagious negativity is. When people hear leaders complaining, it typically gives them license to complain as well.
With a little more self awareness and positivity, we can all help our offices become more pleasant and efficient places to work for ourselves and our coworkers. Think before you vent, and if you want to check out more resources on this topic click here or here.