To vent – or not to vent

January 9th, 2008

Stumbled across this while reading one of my favourite blogs by Alexander Kjerulf.

It’s about venting anger. This article suggests that venting is bad for you. While some of the conventional wisdom around community outrage is to allow venting. In this article by Peter Sandman (item 25) he talks about the need to allow venting.

2 Comments so far

  1. Alexander Kjerulf on January 14, 2008 9:50 pm

    Hi Viv. Thanks for the kind words about my blog – I’m blushing here :o)

    There can definitely be a need to vent in a group that is angry right here and now – I believe that is what Peter Sandman is addressing. If people are angry right now and are not allowed to express it –

    What I don’t believe in is after-the-fact venting, where you retell the story that makes you angry and become angry all over again.

    And unfortunately some companies do have these “let’s rehash everything that annoys us about each other” meetings to “clear the air”.

    THAT I don’t believe in. What do you think?

  2. Viv McWaters on January 15, 2008 7:19 am

    Good point Alex – and I think the best way for people to resolve their differences AND move on is to let them work it out without too much facilitation intervention. That’s why I’d mostly suggest Open Space Technology for these situations. I’ve seen people engage a lot more when in a small circle and given responsibility for their own actions. Sometimes I think facilitation just gets in the way, especially when it focused on the ‘what happened’ aspect. The book Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton and Heen suggests that the ‘what happened’ conversations only ever goes around in circles. I reckon being happy at work depends (part) on applying open space and improv principles – letting go, looking after your partner (others) and being prepared to be surprised. Thanks for your blog – I enjoy it.

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