Venting and complaining slow teams down.
Complaining and negative spin foster toxicity and poor team performance.
I think many managers believe that if they let their employees ‘vent’ they are helping them.
Venting sessions can also be called complaint sessions.
Complaining creates suffering for the complainer. Complaining is like punching yourself in the face. It feels good to talk about how horrible someone else is or how horrible a situation is, but the other person or situation isn’t injured by your complaining, you are.
When an employee speaks negatively about another person, the only one injured in that exercise is the complainer. Not the person they are complaining about. They are fine. They are going about their business, doing their day. The complainer is wallowing in their own negative thoughts.
When you listen to complaining as a habit, you are helping the employee suffer.
You are actively participating as the employee inflicts personal injury to themselves.
You think you’re being compassionate, by listening to them.
You think you’re helping them, by giving them your ear.
You’re helping them punch themselves in the face.
Stop. Doing. This.
Instead, practice inviting solutions into every conversation.
When someone shows up with a problem and starts to complain, stop them.
Tell them you can see they are frustrated, worried, hurt, angry…
Ask them what they’d like to DO about it.
Ask them how they can reevaluate their thinking to get a better result for themselves.
As them who they want to choose to be IN this circumstance, rather than becoming a victim to it.
As a leader, people will present their problems to you.
That’s fine. It is certainly part of your role to help your team members identify and resolve challenges.
Focus on the resolve side of that responsibility.
Don’t indulge problems. Teach your team to see the problem and then brainstorm the solution.
When you stop an employee from punching themselves in the face, you are demonstrating the utmost in compassion. You are helping. You are moving them forward and helping them see their own role in removing their suffering.
I recently shared this insight in a session with some amazing leaders. You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/202424047
I also published a podcast this week on the same topic. You can listen to it here: https://leadershipcoachllc.com/ep-73-stop-helping-your-employees-punch-themselves-in-the-face/
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