Venting vs. Full Blown Toxic Behavior-Build Your Mental Blanket Fort

As human beings we all have moments when we feel overwhelmed or perhaps slighted.  This is normal and healthy and a positive as it is proof you are paying attention to your own life.  But there is a line, and it is not a fine one, between venting and being toxic.  Toxic behavior obviously impacts the team, and obviously impacts you if you are the source.

The difference between being toxic or just plain venting and blowing off steam is easy to determine.  Venting is brief and there is an immediate shift in how you feel once you complete your vent.  Venting is triggered by a specific event.  Venting usually has a compact timeline, as in, incident, internalizing, venting, moving on.  And if you can read people, they don’t shudder when they know you are about to vent, meaning you are not spewing your negativity all over them, your are instead just processing.

In contrast, toxic behavior is ongoing, full throttle, spewing negativity and is often accompanied by the thought that everyone is never going to be as good as you and/or as you need them to be.  This pattern is often accompanied by the feeling that you are the only one that can do things right.  While we don’t go to work to make friends we do have professional peers.  An indicator that you may be toxic is if your professional network of support is either limited or non-existent.  Basically, does anyone want to be around you if they don’t have to?  Do your professional peers find value in interacting with you?

Venting is healthy, being toxic is not.  Bottom line, toxic behavior is just that, a behavior.  It is a choice and you can decide to re-route the patterns and thought processes leading you down the path.  Chances are we have all been toxic at some point.  I’ve stood on the edge of it myself recently.  Fortunately for me I had a peer to vent to, and he had the good humor to listen and advise that if we could bring blanket forts into the workplace we would all be happier.  Perfect example of venting, re-routing and moving on!

There is a dynamic that makes it hard to move on from a vent.  When the workplace, not just a single person becomes toxic.  That is another story for another day.  But until then, build and reside in your mental blanket fort and start your pro/con list of staying or going.


How To Be Professional

How to be professional…  Workplaces can be full of all types of thinking, both good and bad.  The challenge with over 75% of the national workforce being unhappy at their current jobs comes when you see how that spirals out throughout the workplace dynamic/culture. So how do you protect yourself and remain professional in a world that has a large percentage of disengaged workers?  I suggest two things.  One, if you do not hold the target, the arrow will be less likely to come your way.  That is to say, your integrity is what you have going into and leaving a job, guard it and don’t open yourself up to the engagement of counter-productive activity.  Two, focus on facts and quality within your workplace, and the specifics of your job.  Don’t get distracted. Facts and quality are solid.  Regardless of workplace politics facts and quality are two items that will support your integrity day in and day out.

The bottom line here is people on average don’t enjoy a negative atmosphere, but do often participate in it.  So note to self, you can’t change what you feed.


How To Motivate

I read this article today and enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it.  My favorite part:

“Autonomy means we don’t like being told what to do. Once we feel we’re being pushed around, we check out.”

The article is brief, but has some excellent advice/reminders of the simplicity of actually engaging workers and creating a rewarding workplace.  Click below if you’d like to read it.

How To Be Motivated

Executive Presence, Checklist

The following is a post regarding what a boss needs to remember.  It is great etiquette  and a nice checklist when it comes to presenting an executive presence.  The one that caught my eye and that I see most often is number eight, “Don’t Forget Your Facial Expressions.”

So often we are not aware of our facial expressions.  We may be thinking and feeling one way but our expressions do not convey it.  Subsequently, mixed messages are presented to employees who are not sure what to think.  The good news is it is easy to address.  If you are pleased, happy, etc., tell your face.

Now back to the post…