How to Manage Frustration in the Workplace

There’s probably no limit to the number of things that might cause employees to become frustrated with their co-workers, but fortunately you can prevent frustration from festering into more serious conflicts with these key actions.

Stay calm in the face of others’ anger

Your composure models positive behavior for the employees involved and will help them de-escalate their emotions.

Allow employees to vent

Create a safe space for upset employees to express their feelings to you. Practice active listening and demonstrate you genuinely care about their well-being and are committed to working with them towards a fair solution.

Ask for information from everyone involved

Don’t rush into a solution before all parties have had an opportunity to talk with you privately. When employees feel they haven’t been heard, their resentment increases;  their anger with a co-worker may become refocused on you.

Begin managing frustration as soon as it occurs. In some situations, due to schedules, there may be a lapse in time before the conflict can be addressed. Let everyone involved know they will have an opportunity to express their view of the conflict as soon as prior commitments have been met.

Maintain neutrality

While one employee may be completely right and the other totally wrong, avoid giving an impression of favoritism. Provide reasons for your thinking that are grounded in the overall interest of the business, so everyone understands you are being fair to all. Keep everyone focused so the issue at hand doesn’t become amplified into a multitude of other problems.

Own your part

In some cases, the source of frustration may result from conditions in the workplace that sets co-workers on a collision course. You may not always have the luxury of changing those conditions, but you can take on responsibility for the source of friction and show the co-workers you are in this with them. When you do that, you help to redirect the frustration between the co-workers to an issue outside their relationship. That sets the stage for them to work with you toward a solution instead of battling each other.

Bring everyone together

While you’re gathering the facts, it makes sense to meet one-on-one, but when it is time to develop a solution, you want everyone in one room. This reinforces a perception of fairness and requires the co-workers to cooperate and engage in calmer discussions.

Once the solution has been implemented for a trial period, bring everyone back together for feedback. Thank them for their efforts to resolve the problem and allow them to suggest refinements to improve the solution.

Festering frustration can derail an entire office culture if not addressed promptly.  Meet regularly with your team as a group and in one-on-ones to ensure the channels of communication remain open.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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