Venting About Boss? Research Says Choose Co-Workers Carefully

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 2:32pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 2:37pm

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
When complaining about work a new study suggests certain co-workers' responses can help the situation.

The next time you complain about work, you may want to pay more attention to your co-workers' reactions. A new study finds their responses can impact your performance.

Venting about an unfair supervisor may seem like a good idea, but Michael Baer says you need to be careful.

“We found that the more employees talked about unfairness with their coworkers the more angry they were, they less hope they had, and the less they were likely to forgive their supervisors for this experience,” said the assistant professor at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

Using surveys and lab experiments, Baer said his research team found anger can be lessened when a co-worker reframes the situation.

“We need somebody who says 'You know what, there’s steps we can take. You can get over this,'” he said. “We can keep working harder. Maybe you can talk to your supervisor about ways to get over this situation. And you know what? Maybe you had a role in the negative things that happened.”

And, at some point, Baer says, you need to stop talking about it and move on.

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