We all get frustrated sometimes with the people we work with, study with, volunteer with or live with. Or any group of people we hang out with and are tasked with “working” together in some capacity. Group dynamics are tricky and sometimes a perfect storm of less-than-emotionally-intelligent, egoic, abrasive or dismissive leadership or communication styles can clash with strong emotions or passions of other’s in the group and create tension and usually stalemate on any collaborative efforts. Nobody is perfect, effective team-work takes time to learn — whether you’re leading or participating. And one of the best tools you can have in your communications kit for engaging with any group — or person — successfully, is emotional intelligence.
“Emotional intelligence (EI), emotional leadership (EL), emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s)”. (Wikipedia)
A lack of emotional intelligence or restraint when communicating with others can be especially problematic online-for both sides. The ease in which emotional or inflammatory content (often inaccurate, incomplete or one-sided) spreads on social-media can become a liability for the reputation of any business, organization or individual person. This is why most large (and many small) companies or organizations have social-media policies and Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA). These are reasonable precautions given what we know about human nature and the global growth of social-media. A global always-on communications tool which has become a grotesque, distorted, commercial and political epistemic pump fed by our psychological propensities for addiction and emotional (limbic) responses (reactions). When it comes to the media content that tugs at our attention the most on social-media, that old adage still applies (with modifications):
“If it bleeds — or is insanely stupid or illogical — it leads”
We have all been pissed or disappointed at one time or another at our employer, organization or some group we are affiliated with. And when we feel anger or disappointment (legitimate reasons or not) it is natural to want to vent and express that anger or disappointment — which actually feels good momentarily. But the problem is that the short-lived feelings of release and vindication when others sympathize with our (usually one-sided) position or concerns vented online, are often superseded by long-term unfair, unbalanced and negative statements or opinions about the business, organization, or yourself. Negative opinions about yourself which may cost you opportunities in the future.
“Howsoever toxic you may perceive your organization to be, a public rant will never help.”
Given what we now know about how social-media works and spreads emotional content (whether its true/justified or not), when combined with lack of context and often expressing only one-side of a dispute, venting about an employer or organization on social-media is a VERY BAD IDEA! Not only does this unfairly represent the employer or organization’s position since they are not likely to contribute to your post which only reflects your view and may be inflammatory, but the venting usually gains a few sympathetic comments or shares which only serves to further spread the one-sided negative comments/perspective. This is bad for both the company/organization and YOU.
Sure, some employers or organizations SHOULD be outed publicly when it is clear they are putting others in harms way, committing crimes and have not responded to concerns raised through more respectful and collaborative channels. But this is a dangerous reputational hammer which should be wielded ONLY under the most extreme and last-resort circumstances. There are other and more respectful, healthy, productive ways to vent or get your point across.
“FIRST, a rant (worse, a vitriolic attack) would make you seem unprofessional to the core. Instead of resolving the issue, you chose to put it out on a public platform. Some may dismiss you as a disgruntled employee.”
The other thing to consider when you feel it is necessary to publicly vent, excoriate or insult an employer or organization on social-media, is that you come across as unstable and lacking in emotional intelligence, critical thinking or self-control. Other potential employers or organizations may find these posts and be asking themselves if hiring/engaging with you would be in their best interest.
“SECOND, you will seem like a person who is emotional and not equipped to deal with workplace issues dispassionately. How will then a potential employer trust you with decision-making?”
So before you hit “Post” on that angry, judgmental, insulting or possibly even passive-aggressive rambling attack on a past employer or organization, just stop to think about whether or not you would hire the person who just wrote what you are about to post. Ask yourself whether or not it is fair to excoriate your employer or organization on social-media, possibly damaging their reputation, when they are not participating in the same dialog with you. And if you signed ANY form of NDA, ask yourself who would trust your judgement or behavior if shortly after signing that NDA you are publicly attacking the company/organization. At the very least keep the post in draft and allow yourself a few days to calm down (emotional reaction IS NOT intelligent action) and allow that critical-thinking, rational, compassionate pre-frontal cortex to review the post. And don’t forget. If you make public statements which damage a company or organization’s reputation resulting in (real or potential) financial loss, then YOU CAN BE SUED if you cannot backup your claims with irrefutable and often documented FACTS.
“THIRD, a social media attack on the employer will seem wrong as this is just one side of the issue. Your company likely has a large number of employees who are managing well in the same setup. Other members in your team may get along well with the same boss whom you have harangued and raged against publicly.”
So when you are boiling over or hurt inside after something your employer or organization has done — or not done — DON’T VENT ON SOCIAL-MEDIA. This says more about YOU, than it says about the company/organization and you are more likely to harm yourself in the long run, than effect any positive change in the company/organization.
“FOURTH, by putting across a defamatory post against your employer or boss, you are putting yourself in a situation where the employer or the boss can take legal action against you. None of the above is conducive to your career.”