“I live in frustration!” That was one of my past managers regular statements to his team. It always elicited covert eye-rolling.
Lately I have noticed a high level of frustration in some of the people I work with. I have read project reviews that suggest insufficient communication between team members, others are upset that projects are stalled on the front end, and I read tranquilizing peer review (performance appraisal) assessments indicating people have given up being constructive. We tend to be blind to the affect we have on each other.
During a recent meeting, two senior managers said they were really frustrated. Upon hearing that, I found I became frustrated too. Our mood is highly contagious. Frustration is a reaction. It can be a subset of resignation or ambition depending on the actions the frustrated person takes.
Moods, especially negative ones, are highly contagious. If you are always throwing up roadblocks, which could be a sign of resignation, your team runs the high probability of floundering. When a leader approaches challenges from a mood of ambition with a “can do” attitude, positive morale is a result. We have all worked on projects we can’t wait to end. If you are on one of those now, give some consideration to the mood you bring to your team and work to make it more positive.
There are some specific steps you can take to assess and navigate your mood.
Step 1 Identify the assessment you have about the future that is relevant to what is going on. A positive reaction to frustration could be to dig deeper to a team member’s problem or concern. Digging your heels in will only increase resignation. Ask others to help you see when your mood is negatively affecting them.
Step 2 Try to ground your assessment. What reasons do you have for feeling so frustrated? What evidence comes to mind? Why do you care about it?
Step 3 Form a new assessment if your assessment was ungrounded or not serving you well. Speculate about new, more productive actions you could take to pull you out of your frustration.
Step 4 Take action – resolve to shift out of a nonproductive mood. What new declaration can you make? Make it public. Team members need to take a look at the mood they bring to the team. We are all responsible to bring a mood that is productive to the task at hand.
Stop living in frustration. Shifting from being frustrated with a situation, to feeling confident you can make a difference starts with a mindset, a commitment to come from a place of ambition. That too can be contagious.
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.” – Sir Isaac Newton