“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” ~ Antonio Banderas

I love the game show Jeopardy. I’m always learning something new, but it’s a bit disheartening to see how little I know compared to the real contestants. With that in mind, let’s play Jeopardy!

In the category “Love Your Work,” the answer is “Frustration, Worry, Anxiety, Anger, Disappointment, and Unhappiness.”  And the question is, “What are the six top negative emotions experienced in the workplace?” That is correct Alex; we’ll be right back after this commercial message.

Have you ever gotten frustrated at work? Well, that’s a silly question.  Of course you have, we all have. The big question is: How have you handled it? Have you screamed, shouted or caused a scene? Or maybe you just retreated into a corner in the back room behind a closed door and buried your head in your hands.

A lot of frustration and negative emotions at work have to do with change. Is the company downsizing, relocating or dropping a product or service? Is the frustration coming from working with difficult team members, or a challenging manager or owner? The cause could be you’re just burnt out.

No matter the source, people deal with frustration on the job in a number of different ways. Some lash out in an aggressive manner, some get withdrawn and lose interest, while others try to play the blame game.

As a leader, manager, supervisor or owner, it is your job to help all of your employees be the best they can possibly be.  And that includes how they handle and deal with frustration and negativity in the office. It is your job to help them find their own solution to the problem, and it must be their own way of dealing with the situation.

If you are dealing with frustration or a negative emotion at work, or if you have team members who are, remember these important tips:

  • Attitude is EVERYTHING. While you may not have caused the problems that led to the frustration, anger or disappointment, how you respond is totally up to you. You get to choose how to react. And make no mistake, it is a choice.
  • Be pro-active. Don’t let these feelings build over time, as they usually get worse, and rarely just go away.
  • Keep lines of communication open. Communication is the answer to 90% of the world’s problems. Make sure you talk to the right people.
  • Get employees onboard. If a big change is about to happen, don’t spring it on people all at once, right before it is about to happen. People dislike change, and the more time you give them to adjust, the better.
  • Stop and evaluate. What exactly is causing the frustration, and is getting your blood pressure elevated the best course of action? Try to remember the last time you got frustrated. Did anything positive come of it?
  • Avoid gossip. It helps no one and leads to more frustration.
  • Try deep breathing or meditation to help relax you and deal with the stress.

We all get emotional at work during the course of our careers, and learning how to deal with these emotions is an important step to becoming a better person, employee and leader. Always remember:

  • Be professional
  • Be respectful
  • Be thankful. Gratitude is a wonderful attribute

Knowing what causes your frustrations at work is a positive first step. By helping to minimize your frustration level, and more importantly, those of your team members and employees, it will help you earn trust and respect.  The positive impact on employee engagement and the company culture will be significant.

How do you deal with frustration at work? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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