Bear with me and this harsh language. It is intentional and important. I read that line earlier today in a leadership email from Stephen Mansfield. Here is the gist of what he shared, and it is absolutely essential today.
We are living in a time when the list of things to complain about seems endless. From politics to Covid protocols to global instabilities and much, much more, there is always something to legitimately gripe about (that doesn’t even include the many issues and concerns in our personal lives).
Sometimes we need a safe place to gripe and complain. Sometimes venting to the right people is not inappropriate, but rather, freeing. However, since gripe sessions can quickly turn toxic, here are a few suggestions for keeping them clean.
First, process with the right people. If you need to gripe and complain, do it with people who can lift the burden off of you without merely adding to it or further riling you up.
Second, if the conversation turns toxic—if it drifts toward gossip, slander, or increased discouragement—add a bit of optimism. Inserting some positivity into gripe sessions can help keep them clean.
And finally, remember that bitching ain’t leadership! Complaining about something is not the same thing as working toward positive change. We are allowed to complain enough to get free, but then we need to roll up our sleeves and actually go to work, otherwise all we have done is contribute to the messiness and the madness.
Let’s be positive contributors. Let’s be leaders that are legit.