I recently read The Power of Frustrating Leadership Friends by Dan Rockwell.  This post is an extension…and a reaction, sorta.  I encourage you to read Dan’s post and follow Leadership Freak.  It’s thought provoking, as you’ll hopefully glean from the below.

Frustration comes in all shapes and sizes, and in every bit of life.  Personal, professional, it doesn’t matter.  Sometimes parents don’t think you’re doing something correctly.  Sometimes spouses get upset because you do the wrong thing.  Sometimes superiors and colleagues get frustrated when you don’t make the right decision at work.  Simple and imcomplete exampes, I know.  It really doesn’t matter what the situation, the point is frustration exists.  It is created by you for others.  And, well, others in turn create it for you as well.

In my own world, I create and receive a lot of frustration.  The amount of frustration, I think, is directly related to the amount I care about what I do.  If it bothers me a lot, it’s likely because I have a vested interest in success in that piece of my life.

Lately, I’ve been building up a lot of frustration myself.  And, yet, I’m still pleasant at home with the family and when my boss asks me my stress level at work on a weekly basis (yes, I have a good manager, but that’s for another post), I reiterate that I’m doing well and not in the red zone.  And yet, before reading Dan’s post, I didn’t realize the significance of that.

“People who frustrate you fill holes in your leadership. You need them more than you think.” – Dan Rockwell

It wasn’t 2 years ago when I would get frustrated at work, bring it home, disrupt my family life and stew about how crappy work.  Looking back, I didn’t handle those challenging situations well.  But today, I’m handling much more challenging situations much better and with more composure.

Partly, yes, because I’m more experienced now and I realize that the world really isn’t coming to an end and everything can still be okay.

But I think beyond that, removing frustration comes down to attitude.  How much do I want to fix the situation and resolve the areas of frustration to make things better?  I think quite a bit.  What I’ve found helps is to break down communication barriers and get to the source of frustration.  If you’re feeling it, there’s a good chance people who you think are creating it are feeling it too.  Get in a room, clear the air and get some clarity on the real problem.  Once you’ve identified the problem, then start to work together on a solution.  Not only with the frustration go away, you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment around fixing something that was broken.  At the very least, even if you don’t solve the problem, you would likely have earned some respect around breaking down other people’s frustration, not to mention your own.


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