Doing Nothing with Anger is Better Than Venting

Venting doesn’t work. Hitting a punching bag, while thinking about the person who made you angry, increases aggression. 

It’s better to do nothing than vent. Catharsis doesn’t work. (Brad Bushman Ph.D.)

Aggressive behavior increases aggression.

fear of frustration prolongs negative issues

Joys of frustration:

Frustration is normal and healthy when there’s a gap between what is and what should be. If you’re leading, you’re frustrated. You always see the gap. I don’t mean to suggest leaders should lose their temper or abuse people.

Useful anger:

 Wrong persists until leaders get angry enough to work on positive solutions.

Leaders who tolerate persistent poor performance, nagging problems, and negative patterns aren’t mad enough.

Anger loses its usefulness, if you do nothing.

Useful “venting”:

Use the energy of frustration for good.

#1. Make space to talk through frustrations. “What’s bothering you?”

Fear of frustration prolongs negative issues.

#2. Don’t solve another’s frustration. It’s demeaning to solve a capable person’s problem for them. (When you have authority that others don’t, use it.)

#3. Confront off-kilter thinking. Talking gives people a chance to see their own craziness. Everyone needs someone to call out their bull crap from time to time.

#4. Shift perspectives. Talking is an opportunity to move from problem-centric to solution-centric thinking. “What would you like to do about this?”

Frustration is the first step to better.

#5. Provide support. A listening ear strengthens others, as long as you don’t circle the black hole. “What’s next?”

#6. Narrow focus. Unfiltered anger pollutes the whole world. Saying, “It seems like the world is going to hell,” may help frustration narrow its focus.

#7. Find insight. Insight may emerge as you explain what’s wrong. “What would you like to make better?”

How might leaders get the most from frustration, theirs and others’?

What warning might you add?

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