Hear honest stories  every week
Increase your confidence professionally & personally at the Confidence Masterclass on Aug. 8th @ 1pm ET
Book Laurie

Why you should never vent to your boss

July 2, 2014

Several months ago I was facilitating a workshop on communication, and the topic of venting came up. One manager shared that she consistently vents to her boss about challenges in her position, like interpersonal issues with employees or coworkers. She felt since she has a good relationship with her vice president, that it seemed natural to vent to her when she was having challenges. "I need someone to vent my frustrations to so I can feel better. I use her as an outlet," she said.

Venting can be good in some situations and help a person feel better by talking things out or working through emotions. But you should never vent to your boss. Even if you have a great relationship with your boss, venting can be risky to your career.

By definition, venting means "to express one's thoughts or feelings, especially forcefully". There is a big difference between venting and expressing your thoughts carefully.

If you have a great relationship with your boss, then occasionally sharing challenges and frustrations may be appropriate and natural. Yet consistently using your manager as an outlet to express aggravations only adds to your boss's problems. She may start to view you as not being able to effectively handle challenges in your role, and it may affect how she views your performance.

Whether your boss is the CEO or a mid level manager, she has a lot on her plate and would probably welcome not being involved in every challenging situation.

When faced with a challenging or frustrating situation, ask yourself these questions:

  • What part of this situation can I control?
  • What are two or three ways I could resolve this situation?
  • How could I effectively approach this person to get the best result? (if you're dealing with an interpersonal conflict)
  • Will I handle this situation more effectively if I take a day to cool down?
  • Is this something my boss needs to be involved in, or is it something I can handle on my own?

After asking yourself these questions, if you feel it's appropriate to involve your boss, then approach it constructively by carefully framing the challenge you are facing and sharing the possible solutions you are considering. If you are seeking guidance, let your boss know that you are open to coaching around the challenge and need some advice or a different perspective.

Most leaders would welcome not being involved in every challenge and gladly allow their employees to resolve their own issues.

Now, I'd love to hear from you. What strategies have you used to deal with challenges or frustrations at work?

Leave a comment
Thank you, your comment has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Comments
Todd Smith
July 11, 2024

Great article.....And happy belated birthday! Welcome to my world, young lady!

turning-50-principles-for-elevating-leadership-and-life
Reply from Laurie:
Thanks so much, Todd!
Beverly
December 19, 2023

Whenever I have a work project that I keep putting off - I think about delegating that project to someone else - which accomplishes 2 things- it gets the project done and frees us my brain space thinking about it.

the-importance-of-boundaries-in-leadership-and-life
Reply from Laurie:
Absolutely, Beverly! We create more time for ourselves, and we can release the mental stress it is taking up.
Melissa Smith
December 7, 2023

Good morning. I loved this read. Thank you so much for sharing. Sincerely, Melissa :)

how-to-manage-your-emotional-hot-buttons-2
Reply from Laurie:
You're welcome, Melissa! Thanks for your comment.
Anonymous
November 29, 2023

Thank you for this blog Laurie. I liked most part and specially "As organizations have become more complex, there is a tendency to require employees to do more with less. This is a slippery slope, and often can result in employees feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. One of the biggest contributors to this is not evaluating resources during the strategic planning process." I will use this practice "A best practice is to do what I call Priority Planning—putting important practices on your calendar ahead of time so they become a priority in your day. Examples of activities to Priority Plan include scheduling recurring coaching sessions with each team member, time for strategic thinking and planning, vacations, doctor appointments, important children’s events, and blocks of time for focused work on projects." To be more effective, I will get a good rest so I can have enough energy in the morning. I will read the blog again along with the other links on employee evaluation. Thank you so much Laurie. Best wishes to you and your family.

six-leadership-practices-that-support-employee-wellbeing-and-a-thriving-culture
Reply from Laurie:
So glad you will be implementing these things!
Tracey
October 23, 2023

this is a test comment

/professional-pause-makes-you-a-better-leader
Reply from Laurie:
Add an answer
Anonymous
October 23, 2023

...

...
Reply from Laurie:
Add an answer
lynn beisel
October 20, 2023

I love the feedback on the more than 50 hours of work. AND filling time. So true. Unfortunately, showing that you work longer hours is still seen as being a "hard worker" - not sure how to change that though.

professional-pause-makes-you-a-better-leader
Reply from Laurie:
Lynn, I agree that working longer hours is still seen as working "hard" in our culture. I wish this was an easy shift. Our society needs to redefine what being productive means--not related to hours, but true productivity, which I find is not related to hours, but is related to focus. I do think leaders in organizations can model great boundaries and set the tone for their culture. Thank you for your comment!
Krystle
September 26, 2023

I enjoyed the read. I concur that transitioning from technical skills to delegating results was a task within itself. I did not realize I was almost trying to do the same thing from my previous position, and it was not working. However, I am seeing the results of how delegating daily tasks makes my job and workload easier. Thank you, Laurie.

technical-expertise-gets-in-the-way-of-great-leadership
Reply from Laurie:
Thank you, Krystle! I think this is something most managers are challenged with when shifting from a more technical role to a leadership role. Delegation can really help free up time for the leadership aspects of our job.
Anonymous
August 29, 2023

Thank you for sharing information about your trip Laurie! All 3 things resonate with me - probably #1 being the biggest. I know when I'm gone for a week, I'm still thinking about work and need a vacation when I get back because I did not relax enough. I think your idea of a longer vacation is definitely in my future!!

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
I think it takes me a week to just wind down before I can really relax. My goal next year is to take at least one two week (rather than one week at a time) vacation!
Perry Crutchfield
August 22, 2023

Hey Laurie, My take on your list - 1 - everyone has a story - listen 2- social media causes interpersonal problems 5- generational differences create hurdles / earn it you aren't entitled / we should help them get there not give it to them 6 AMEN some leaders I would have followed thru Hell, some I wish - well, you know 7- true BUT be as good as your word and 14- Hopefully we leave some good from our efforts, I know the good leaders I have had have. Seen a lot in my career but it really comes down to treat others the way you want to be treated, fair, honest, and straight forward. Good read. Take care

15-leadership-and-life-lessons
Reply from Laurie:
I always appreciate your perspective, Perry! I so agree with you that we should treat others with respect, just like we want to be treated. I have also had leaders that I would follow anywhere, and others who I have learned what NOT to do!
LISA KINNEY
August 16, 2023

I love this so much and thank you so much for sharing! I really just love realizing that enjoying the simple things sometimes is the best! Also recognizing that what is important and fun to you may not be everyone else's fun on the on the trip. “Do we get to keep these toiletries?” was my favorite!!!! :):) Glad you had a great time and got to spend it with your family!

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
I am so glad you are enjoying the blog post Lisa!
Sandra
August 15, 2023

I very much resonate with lesson no 3! Thank you Laurie

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Thanks, Sandra!
Beverly Zook
August 14, 2023

I think the part that you might have missed in their top 5 things, some of which were not "Italian" or even different from home, all of them happened with you, both of you. And i think that is what they will remember too. And you've got tons of photos that will remind them of what the Sistine Chapel looked like - then they might remember what it sounded like or smelled like. Oh- and i agree with you 100% about sleep!

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
You are so right Bev--it was really about the experience of traveling together. I have on my list to create an album from our trip so we can look back and remember everything we did!
Tracey
August 14, 2023

LOTS of great take-aways from this post! Thank you for posting! I especially love "slow down to speed up". That's a keeper!

effective-time-management
Reply from Laurie:
Tracey
August 14, 2023

testing blog comment flow

did this come through?
Reply from Laurie:
Anonymous
August 14, 2023

the not getting enough rest to be at my best. definitely need to get more quality sleep and make that a priority

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Sandi Richardson
August 10, 2023

It really is hard to narrow down the 3 lessons into one because they are all so interconnected. You need to give your mind and body THE TIME to relax SO THAT you can enjoy the SIMPLE THINGS, including REST. I enjoyed that lesson as a whole. I will take that lesson with me on my next vacation (or staycation). As always, thank you Laurie for your candor and for sharing your own lessons with others so that we too can benefit.

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Yes, Sandi! Love how you pulled all those lessons together!
Andrea C.
August 10, 2023

Great information and reminders

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Thank you, Andrea!
Arlene Byrd
August 10, 2023

Laurie, Thank you for sharing your trip and these nuggets. The lessons that resonate most with me are it does take time to relax and getting proper rest. When you devote 15 plus hours of your day for work, taking care of home and others; the 6-7 hours you lay down does not cut it! For me during this time I'm trying to unwind and find myself thinking fighting not to think about what I have to do tomorrow. Even after I create a to do list for the next day...I find things I need to add. Taking a day off here and there doesn't cut it as well because of all the plans you have for that day. I try to make sure my Mental Health Days remains just that.... time for me to laugh, cry, scream.... whatever I need to release the cares and stress!

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Yes, Arlene! We spend so much of our time working and often taking care of others, that it can feel challenging to even find time to unwind and rest. I am working on building more margin into my schedule and blocking time off next year for some extra days off to really disconnect and relax.
Stephen Wallace
August 10, 2023

Really enjoyed the article... and all very true!

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Tracey
August 10, 2023

Since I was already well aware of #1 (I'm in the same boat with taking a long time to relax), I think I'm resonating most with #3. I'm learning to prioritize sleep / rest and it's been wonderful. Love that you said "I love sleep.". :)

three-lessons-learned-from-one-month-sabbatical
Reply from Laurie:
Yes, Tracey, I love my sleep and I prioritize it! I feel a huge difference in my energy and focus if I lose even one hour of sleep. I know a lot of people struggle to get good rest, and for some it is not easy.
Anonymous
July 28, 2023

Welcome back from vacation. Well deserve! Action is the key to success. Shoulder to shoulder, coaching and delegating task to help other employees grow are very important. It is a sacrifice that one must do. Forget about yourself and be with your team day in and out to help them grow, is not always easy. On the long run, your team is stronger, and you can depend on them for the success of the organization. Thank you so much!

how-to-build-your-confidence-as-a-leader
Reply from Laurie:
Absolutely agree--action is important for any success. And as a leader, we have to take action--connect with our team, make time for coaching, and showing appreciation. Thanks for your comments!
Sandra
July 26, 2023

So many great tips here, thank you!

plan-for-the-new-year-with-priority-planning
Reply from Laurie:
Thanks so much, Sandra!
Tracey
July 14, 2023

I am so impressed you're able to disconnect and these are great tips I'll be sure to try on my next trip!

how-to-unplug-from-work
Reply from Laurie:
Let me know how it goes, Tracey! :-)
Becca Levian
July 14, 2023

Such a great post - so inspiring!

how-to-unplug-from-work
Reply from Laurie:
Thank you, Becca!