3 Strategies to Deal with Frustration

At a conference last week, someone said to me “I am so frustrated with my team’s performance, I thought they were on board with the goals but clearly they are not.” They went on to say that they were also frustrated with management, upset about recent organizational changes and angry about how the year has turned out. Wow, that was quite a conversation.

As a leader you will inevitably feel frustrated about how things are going. Perhaps your people are not performing the way you hoped. Or, you left a meeting that was an absolute waste of time. Or, management has made a decision that you do not agree with and they never asked for your input. All of these situations and so many more can be frustrating.

It’s important as a leader to be able to quickly identify your mood as frustration then handle it within yourself before projecting it out onto your team, colleagues or manager. Unfortunately, most people share their frustration again and again which actually strengthens discontent and generates more frustration in our neurobiology.

Learn three simple yet powerful strategies to deal with frustration in the future.

  1. Identify your unique version of frustration - What do you do or say when you are frustrated. Is it more internal or do you express it externally? It is a one-time explosion or is it a low-grade disappointment humming in the background? Once you know how you “do frustration,” you can begin to recognize it sooner and work with it more skillfully.

  2. Determine the source of frustration without blame or judgment then shift out of it - Once you recognize your mood of frustration, you have an opportunity to get curious about what might be causing it. The challenge is to determine the source without any type of blame or judgment of yourself or others. I would suggest this is almost impossible yet so important to be able to then shift out of it. Once you are “neutral” about the frustration, you can begin to recognize it’s only a mood and begin to take steps to generate something new.

  3. Design a new outcome for the situation then share it with others - Now that you are clear about your version of frustration and you have identified the source, you can begin to design new possibilities for the future. What would you prefer to see instead of the current situation? What would be different? What is your role in making that happen? Who do you need to share this new outcome/future with?

As you employ the above strategies, you will begin to notice that frustration can be a source of great information rather than a problem. Frustration allows you to identify what is not currently working and what you want to see instead. The trick is to not get resigned and stay in the frustration.

Let me know how things as you work with your frustration in new ways!


Weekly Uplevel Practice

This week pay attention to how often you get frustrated. Hourly? Daily? Weekly?

Then notice, what typically frustrates you? Other people? Things not going as planned? Poor performance? Something else?

Begin to get curious about how frustration show up in both your mind and body.

Then, take time to apply one of the strategies above and notice how things shift.


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash