Leadership Maxim - Managing Frustrations

As a leader of a group, team, club or an organization needless to say that you have and will experience some level of frustration.  The key to being a leader is to manage your personal frustrations and those of the team as well.

Although you as the leader experience frustration, your team is also.  There are three levels of frustrations in all teams:

1. Interpersonal frustration - this is when team members have to work on projects together.  A team that doesn’t spend a lot of time together may see this more often than well established teams.  Nonetheless, this type of frustration is real.  When we don’t embrace the uniqueness of team members we are probably going to experience interpersonal frustrations in the group or team you lead.

All team members must understand that everyone sees things differently, each person comes to the table with certain underlying basis, some people are more vocal, some are less vocal, some see things one way, some like to look at something from various angles, some work fast, some won’t stop until things are done, while others might need to take numerous breaks before completing a project. 

This type of frustration can and will cause your team, group or organization to operate at less than its optimal capacity.  It could also cause you to lose some members of the team.  

In order to combat interpersonal frustrations, your team most develop a sensitivity for each other.  As the leader you also must figure out which people work best together and what personalities work well together.  This takes time but eventually things will fall into place.  I suggest doing some things together as a group, if possible, outside of your normal duties.  Go bowling, take the team to play paintball, watch a few movies together or serve for a cause together.  Over a period of time you will that bonds will develop that will move the team forward.

2. Graduation Frustration - if your team or organization is full of leaders this is something that is definitely happening on your team.  True leaders are visionaries - they look ahead often because there is an idea of what things “should” look like.  

These people have seen a picture of where the organization needs to be, they have embrace the vision and direction of the group but they are frustrated because “so much” time has passed and the group doesn’t seem any closer to its vision.  They are kind of like the senior in high school who has passed all of their tests, has college scholarships lined up and is awaiting the summer to arrive.  The only problem is that they must still come to class to go through the motions in order fulfill their attendance requirement.

This type of frustration may never be uttered verbally, but it shows up as inattentiveness during meetings, reluctance to manage projects for the group that they are clearly capable of doing and a growing disinterest in the group while still being aligned with the vision of the team or organization.

If this type of frustration is allowed to show up to meetings unchecked it can decrease the moral of the group.  This frustration can often be found in your top and mid level leaders.  The answer is to give these people a challenge.  Begin to take some risks and extend them the ability to lead a cutting edge project on behalf of the team.

This will fuel their passion to align with the vision, give you a chance as the leader to possibly mentor them and ultimately push the organization forward. Don’t worry, they are waiting the challenge.

3. Bandwagon frustration - These are people who were excited when they heard about the opportunity to work with your team, group or organization because they either felt a sense of purpose or they were meeting a requirement of some one else.  

These are good people but when they have no intention of doing anything once they understand what was required of them being part of this team or group.  These people can be converted into great leaders but they can also be detrimental to the success of your team.

If someone who is a part of your group or team is experiencing this type of frustration you should either work with them directly or assign them to a veteran team member.  These people ask a lot of question, do very little and in many cases are time wasters and zappers of strength. They should be given small tasks and not be allowed to lead out on a project, until a change is noticed.

Business Anxiety

The term anxiety was birthed from words that mean to think narrow-mindedly and to be taken by the throat. As people who operate within a world with others, it is more than likely that we will feel some level of anxiety in several areas of our lives.

Here are a few anxiety triggers that can be experienced in business, regardless of the size of the organization:

Money – businesses always have an issue with money. CFO’s are always looking to reduce spending in order to increase the bottom line, while COO’s and CFO’s are seeking new ground to increase the revenue of the organization. As long as there is a business, there will be some level of anxiety created by money.

Leadership – in a day where people are changing, becoming less tolerant, more independent and less loyal; leadership is always going to be challenged. As a leader you have to improve on your leadership ability – the ability to deal with competitors, new thoughts, economic changes and the ability to deal with a variety of people inside and outside your organization. Maybe the best leadership move you can make is to appoint another leader to assist in dealing with some of these changing elements.

Growth – determining what stage your business is currently in, knowing where it is going and being able to discern when it is time to make a move in advance for the purposes of growth. I know some entrepreneurs who worked from their home office. However, in order for their business to expand they moved into an office building. Making the right move at the right time to be just ahead of your firm’s growth rate can cause anxiety.

Staff Conflict – pleasing people isn’t easy. Coming to an amicable resolution isn’t always the easiest thing to do either. Internal conflict caused the Roman Empire to collapse and it will certainly do the same thing to a business.

Retention – the Internet has created instant competition to almost every business. Consumers that are seeking more service for less cost can make them a bit disloyal. What do you do to retain clients? This can be a big source of anxiety for most small business owners.

Ideas – most entrepreneurs are flooded with a ton of ideas that seem profitable. This is both a gift to many as well as a curse. What ideas are indeed profitable? Which of those ideas are to be acted on now? Which ideas are to be executed at a later time?

These are just a few business anxiety triggers, you may have more. My suggestion here is to develop a resource or mastermind team to assist you in resolving some of these areas of anxiety. The key to handling these anxieties is never to be reactive or defensive. In cases of anxiety practice being responsive, responsible, be thoughtful and think about the “Big Picture.” Learn to manage those anxieties by developing a better you.