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.
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 ;-)