Top-Shelf Tip No. 33:

"We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us."

William J. Brennan, Jr.

How Leaders Can Fix Workplace Frustrations

Frustrations on the job are going to happen. Even the most even-tempered people sometimes feel overwhelmed, angry, resentful or disappointed. As a leader, it's important to not only handle your own frustrations in an emotionally intelligent manner, but also help your team work through any issues that arise. Workplace frustration rarely goes away on its own. When you see your employees exhibit signs of frustration, there are some steps you can take to prevent the situation from worsening.

Ben Brearley, a coach and former management consultant, says leaders can look out for a few common sources of frustration in the workplace, such as communication problems, lack of rewards and recognition and limited career progression. We're sharing Brearley's tips for fixing workplace frustrations in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Address the frustration directly. Don't avoid having a conversation with a team member who's feeling frustrated, and don't resort to playing the guessing game. Instead, Brearley encourages leaders to approach the conversation with a curious and constructive outlook. Ask questions to understand the source of the frustration and let the team member vent to you. Try to empathize with the individual.

Determine the cause and work toward a solution. Whether you're meeting with an individual employee or your whole team, it's important to start by finding the root cause of the issue. Work with your team to reveal the underlying problem so you'll better understand how to find the appropriate solution.

Act swiftly to address the frustration. Don't wait and hope the issue goes away by itself. If you wait too long, you might even send a key team member packing and out the door. Brearley says it's best to meet with the frustrated employee immediately. Show your team you're aware of the issue and committed to doing something about it.

Always be honest with your team. As a leader, you don't want to give your employees a false promise of change. The source of frustration might be out of your direct control to solve. By not being forthcoming, you might succeed at keeping people on your team longer, but you'll end up driving frustration levels even higher than before. Be open with your team if a solution is going to take some time. And if you can't tackle the problem because it's outside your control, be honest about that, as well.

Frustration in the workplace isn't hard to spot when you take the time to notice it. Your employees might experience emotional outbursts, or they simply might stop trying. Frustrated team members also become less productive, which can damage your individual team and your organization as a whole. If you notice employees having more closed-door meetings than usual, take note. They might be venting their frustration to colleagues, which only further intensifies the issue. When workplace frustrations happen, don't ignore them. Take the right approach with your team by following the simple tips above.

Source: Ben Brearley is a leader, MBA, coach and former management consultant passionate about developing thoughtful, effective leaders.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

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