It’s always surprised me how most people behave as if their leaders aren’t real people. As if their leaders should have all the answers, have no life problems simply because they have a position of status or a higher income, and should never complain. In my days as an employee, it befuddled me to watch people scurry about when “higher-ups” visited our site; nervous to make eye contact or have a conversation. I understand this most likely was out of respect, in some cases out of fear, in some cases an uneasiness around perceived power, and in others… a numbing professional-goal to stay off the radar!
The truth is… leaders have tough days, personal lives, frustration, moments of anger, fear, sadness, insecurity, feel can burn-out or bored-out… and are people! Whether you are in a position of professional leadership, and entry-level employee, or a leader of your own life; how you vent these feelings in a way that protects your leadership, your reputation, your organization, and your relationships will set you apart from your average counterparts! Your venting must follow these three rules: it must be People-Limited, Time-Limited, and Purposeful!
Your venting, frustration, and problem isn’t for everyone to hear! As an employee, I remember watching co-workers share their bad-day, their relationship issues, their problem with their boss or the job with anyone and everyone that came within arm’s distance. As a young employee… I must admit, I fell into this trap too. Believe me, it’s a trap… as most people will gravitate to the negative and it will soon become all you talk about; as you come conditioned to bonding in only that way. Multiply this negativity my months, years, and decades… how do you expect your life, professionally and personally, to turn out?
Leaders understand only to vent to selected people, a selected few that can actually help improve you and the situation. Seek to create a team of people, professionally or personally, you trust with your information and most importantly… you trust to challenge you! The most dangerous thing is walking around with our singular negative thought and the singular reason we believe why it’s happening in our heads… and seeking out a “Bobblehead” to tell you how right you are and what you need to do about it! I talk about this in my book “7 Ways to Love”. This ongoing act has killed more professional and personal growth than I care to count.
If you’re in a professional position of leadership… you vent parallel or up the chain of command for two reasons:
- You’re venting to someone that may be able to exert power and change regarding the issue at hand.
- You haven’t defamed yourself, your power, and position by giving co-workers ammunition they can use against you later; purposefully or inadvertently. Who is on your team; that will shoot you straight, identify your role in the situation, brainstorm ideas, and ask what your next move will be other than complaining?
Venting is human nature and is beneficial when done productively. Venting frustration and problems frequently throughout your organization, team, or relationships not only taints your leadership and reputation; it also devalues your life. What you think will impact how you feel, what you feel will impact what you do, what you do will impact your consequences… positively or negatively! Therefore, it’s impossible to live the life and lifestyle of your dreams venting and complaining about your boss, co-worker, project, relationship, etc. on a consistent basis.
When it’s time to vent… and you’re venting to the “Right Person”; be sure it’s time-limited. Say it, get it out, process feedback and plans, and get back to Smiling, Doing Your Best, and Being Your Best! Remember, Leaders rebound quicker than the rest and continue to make an impact!
Venting without an evolved purpose is just complaining! Vent with a purpose to understand why you really feel the way you feel, to fully understand the opposition, and develop a Win-Win Plan. I don’t promise the Win-Win Plan will always be the most comfortable, however it will make the most sense and benefit you in the long-run. Perhaps the win is the organization, co-worker, employee, or relationship acknowledges shortcomings and develops a plan to correct. Perhaps the win is that you get to take your talents, skills, and motivation elsewhere; to a place that is better suited for you and your vision. If you plan to win in this way, be sure to exit in a positive manner; as referrals and letters of recommendation are hard to acquire if you’ve shut-down and have become an organization liability. Be sure to leave the venting, complaining, bad feelings, and any other negatives behind. Your new adventure doesn’t want the old bitter you!
It’s important to note that your “Vent Message” will be received more graciously if you are at the top of your game prior to the venting process and remain on top of your game after the venting process. It’s hard for others to hear and respect your vent/complaint when you are performing at subpar or below… this may not be fair, but it is the way it is! Enjoy your evolution!
“Venting without an evolved purpose is just complaining. Vent with a purpose to understand why you really feel the way you feel, to fully understand the opposition, and to develop a win-win plan to move forward!” – Andre Young
Written By: Andre Young
Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions! www.youevolvingnow.com