Leadership Team

Hear | Leading a Frustrated Team [Part 2]

This is the second post in the series on Leading Frustrated Teams. Check out the first post here.

Ignoring your team’s frustration will more than hurt your team’s morale but the pursuit of your cause. In an earlier post in this series, I covered the problem of ignoring your teams’ frustration.

You cannot solve what you do not understand. You may never fully understand some challenges or their causes. However, the more you understand a challenge or reasons for some obstacles the better at solving them you will be.

Never start hatching a plan to solve a problem until you’ve made effort to understand it and its cause.

dialogue is often overlooked in leading frustrated teams

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After acknowledging your team’s frustration you need to hear them out. Create a platform for them to vent their frustration. Don’t try to ‘workshop’ problems at this stage. Don’t start working on a solution until they have vented their frustration.

Giving your team space to vent their frustration is part of solving the reason for their frustration.

Many leaders just want to wave a wand and voila! = Frustration gone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Sometimes people feel better about a problem not because they’ve found a solution but because they’ve said what is bothering them.

Never mistake your team venting frustration as a direct attack on you

It is wisest to have your team vent with you, as the leader, than with someone from the outside. Worse still if some, not all, your team members are frustrated and they continually vent with other team members it can breed anarchy.

Thus the safest environment for your team to vent is directly to you.



After the venting is out of the way, the next step is to talk with and not at your team. Listen more than you talk. Get their perspective on how they arrived at their frustration. If it is a result you failing them, own your failure.

Show them how to take responsibility for their failure by taking responsibility for yours.

Ask your team what they feel would correct their frustration. In your dialogue make sure you leave with the next practical step to resolving frustration.


Frustration escalates when leaders are not willing to really dialogue, beyond a superficial level. Not listening to your team only makes things worse. Lead well.  Don’t be that leader who feels only they can be frustrated and their team is immune to frustration.

You can actually solve frustration by simply talking ;-)


Break It Down

When managing change it is easy to get overwhelmed. Often, this is when heretic leaders start second guessing themselves.

Change will have moments when it feels impossible. Every leader feels overwhelmed when they consider the magnitude of their assignments and responsibility.

John Maxwell rightly says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership”. This reality makes many leaders uncomfortable and freezes them. Fact: everything seems to hang on leadership. There are just some things you cannot separate from leading.

long-lived change is a journey; a step at a time allows you to create structures that will sustain the change

|| image credit: Oxfam East Africa | cc

What is it that heretics should do when they feel overwhelmed? What should they do when it feels like their cause is too big a responsibility to bear?

Simple: they break it down. The Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. Leaders who think a ten thousand-step journey needs to be taken in one huge leap are likely to break under the pressure.

The Chinese proverb is incomplete. It should be, “A journey of a thousand miles begins and will be completed one step at a time”.

Significant change can only be accomplished through great patience. Great change needs great patience. It needs great endurance. It may mean enduring critics.

Great wins are not a result of giant steps but constant and impassioned steps. Many small wins eventually build into one great win. The reason many leaders give up on bringing about change is because they don’t see instant change.

Small change is not your enemy. One of the benefits of small wins and seeming slow progress is that they are manageable. They also allow you to develop structure to support the change you’re bringing about.

The most long-lived changed is incremental

Change that doesn’t produce long-lasting fruit is rapid change. Rapid change tends to implode as it creates little space to build structures to sustain it in the long run.

Does your work seem too hard? Is it too great to bear? Stop trying to take a ten thousand feet leap and focus on taking just the next step. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.

Leadership Team

Ignore? | Leading a Frustrated Team [Part 1]

This is the first post in the series on Leading Frustrated Teams

Leaders are often a frustrated bunch. This can be due to the intensity of some things that cannot be separated from leading. Everyone seems to look to leadership for answers. Every problem is ultimately the leaders’ problem. Leadership is not for sissies.

However, leaders must not get so entangled in their own frustration that they do not realize the frustration of their teams. Sometimes leaders are the source of their teams’ frustration.

Related Post: More Than 5 Reasons Your Teams Is Frustrated With Your Leadership

Despite the source of the team’s frustration, they still do need to lead. Every leader, at one point or another, will need to lead a frustrated team.

frustration inhibits your team’s growth and performance, if you ignore it

|| image credit: familymwr | cc

How to lead a frustrated team:


One of the worst mistakes any leader must never make is ignoring the frustration of his team. At some point we’ve all been led by a leader with the audacity to ask you to deliver, while turning a blind eye to obstacles he needs to address. Some of those obstacles being overwhelmed and frustrated.

When you lead a frustrated team, do not ignore their frustration. Address it head-on. Getting to the bottom of it now and not later means you deal with molehills before they become mountains.

Not every problem is solved by being ignored.

Ignoring the frustration of your team is creating an incubator for it. Thus, creating a great environment for frustration to grow.


Great leaders know that they must ignore some things to pay attention to others. Balance is a myth. Some things deserve greater attention than others.

How you determine which things to pay attention to must be clear to you and your team. Always be clear with your team which things are priority. One of the reasons for conflict between teams and leaders is the conflict of priority and interests.

Every leader must make sure that they build into their culture filtering mechanisms of what comes first. When values are shared and the same worth is placed on the same values, conflict is minimal.


When they are frustrated don’t act like they are not. Acknowledge the frustration. That is the first place to stand. Turning a blind eye can lead to even greater frustration.

In acknowledging their frustration make a commitment to resolving their frustration. State at least one practical step that can be immediately taken to combat the frustration.

Leaders and organizations that bury their heads in the sand in the face of frustration will soon meet their demise. Don’t ignore your teams’ frustration till it gets so big you can’t ignore it and it is more difficult to address. Lead well. Don’t ignore your teams’ concerns and frustration.


Things That Cannot Be Separated From Leading

Some things just go together. And, you cannot expect to lead without encountering some things. There are some leadership components that are not removable add-ons. You are guaranteed to have them. Period.

Leaders cannot escape taking responsibility for their vision and teams. They also don’t have the luxury of placing the blame for their team’s failure on their team. They must own it.


The Obstacles You Don’t Have To Tolerate | Excuses

There are such things as ‘invalid excuses’. Excuses love validation and justification. At the same time they will get in the wayif you let them.


The extent to which you tolerate excuses is the extent to which the status quo will prevail. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.

What are some of the excuses that you’ve tolerated? How have they crippled you?