Management Tip of the Week: Dealing with Frustration
If you are a manager, no doubt you have been frustrated at work. Frustrated with staff. Frustrated with your supervisors. Frustrated with your colleagues. Frustration rears its head at almost every bend of your workday.
So how can you manage frustration in a way that allows you to move forward and gives you peace of mind. Here is Lion Leadership’s 4 step process to “keeping your cool” in the workplace.
#1 = Understand what gets you upset.
Frustration is a sneaky emotion. It can quickly morph to anger or to a sense of powerlessness if you don’t recognize it. If you are dreading going to work on Monday morning, or if you are suddenly seeking a way out of your current position, chances are, something is frustrating you. So what is it? Figuring out the answer to this question is half the battle. Adopt the key habit of asking yourself each morning – what is frustrating me at work?
#2 = Figure out who is at fault.
Workplace frustrations come in many forms. Sometimes it is a person and their personality. Or their approach to a workplace task. Sometimes it is an organizational process that is thwarting your best laid plans. Other times it is the culture of the company that is causing strife with your work/life balance. Yet many times the frustration lies within a mismatch of who you are, what you are doing, and what you really would rather be doing with your time. Adopt the key habit of asking yourself each morning – who is causing this feeling and who can potentially fix it?
#3 = Decide what would fix the problem.
Many people like to “stew” in negative emotion. No one knows why this is. Yet sometimes we like to cloak ourselves in complaints. Stop doing that! Adopt the key habit of asking yourself the question – If I could wave a magic wand, what would fix this problem? If you don’t have an answer, buy 1 hour with a management coach to help you figure it out. If you discover that the problem is with you personally, buy more time with a management coach to work it out. It is amazing how far a few hours with an objective observer can go. It is well worth the investment. If you have a clear answer that doesn’t involve you, move on to #4.
#4 = Have the conversation.
Do not delay. Tackle each frustration quickly – before it reaches the point of anger, anxiety, or depression. And do it with a conversation. Set a meeting with the person who is at fault or the person who can solve your problem. Explain that you are frustrated and explain why. Ask for specific changes that you feel would resolve the issue. Thank them for listening and following through. It is your standard E-A-T strategy. Explain – Ask – Thank. Yes, you should EAT your frustration.
Following this protocol takes practice. It takes some gumption on your end.
Be mindful of overstepping boundaries, but do not let frustration fester. It is a sneaky emotion that can wreck a work experience, a relationship, and a life. Taking care of it as soon as you recognize it may be the key to consistently loving your job and moving forward in your career.
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Dr. Ganem is founder and director of Lion Leadership, a company that helps growing businesses with talent management and organizational effectiveness. She is primary writer for the ROAR blog at www.ImTheLion.com where readers gain perspective on themselves, their organizations, and how to reach their potential at work.