… you better have a plan in hand. A plan for fixing or attempting to solve that which you complain about.
It Feels Good To Vent
First, let’s acknowledge we have all been there. For whatever reason, things are frustrating. Even when the issue is clearly not your fault or your direct problem. It could be a client, your agency, your boss, the other departments or silos we all have to deal with in the course of our daily business. It could be the parking ticket, the flat tire, the kids or the weather. We are all human and just need someone to listen once in a while. Its cathartic.
No One Cares Anyhow
No matter how legitimate, no matter how “in the right” you are, complaining gets you nowhere. That old phase “I’d complain but no one cares” is true.
A Fatal Flaw Of Those Who Complain
They never have a plan. In the context of business, if you are going to complain, you better be willing to do something about it. If your project has gone haywire or you believe a client or agency is going rouge, then you need to step it up and put a framework around fixing it things. Ideas and suggestions with solutions in mind always outrank opinions on who is to blame.
Some Tips For Venting
1. Starting: Begin with the following disclosure “Excuse me, I am going to vent for a minute. I need to get something off my chest” is the best way to start.
2. Be Brief: Kept it to a minute or two MAX!!!
3. Avoid Gossip: Keep it to facts and do not get personal. Getting personal takes away your credibility in managing the situation and being seen as a leader. Don’t go there. Strive to keep it professional, not personal.
4. Be Selective: Don’t let venting become a habit. Wonder why people avoid you in the halls? Don’t be that guy/girl.
5. Imagine Yourself As The “Ventee”: How do you sound? What are you saying? If you were eavesdropping in on your own conversation, would you judge yourself on the merits of your argument?
6. Be Careful: What you say may come back to haunt you. Make sure you don’t say/do anything you might regret.
7. Would You Say It To Their Face?: If you had the opportunity to confront the person, group or folks in charge of the process which whom you are taking issue, would you be as candid or more diplomatic?
8. Logic Versus Emotion OR Having Perspective: Can you see it from the other side of the fence? Are you able to remove yourself from your vested interest or emotional attachment? Can you be sympathetic to the other parties position? Have you taken time to reflect?
9. Count To Ten: Always a good idea to think before you speak. For some reason, more and more I hear people not using the proper filters before speaking.
10. Have A Plan: As already noted, if you are venting or complaining to others involved, or more importantly if they are above you in the organization, you must come equipped with a plan of action. Every one is looking to be led and looking for leaders. If you can articulate a plan and create a solution, you are the leader.
And remember, always remember above all, you are not perfect. None of us are.