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Managing Your Greatest Workplace Frustration

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.

~William James~

If I conducted a survey on your job and it consisted of this question: Out of the following two issues, which would you say is the greatest source of your workplace frustration: “people issues” or “job tasks”, which of the two issues do you believe would receive the most votes? For most of us, once we master the primary tasks related to our job, we are usually able to complete our position responsibilities with little or no help or supervision. But, when it comes down to dealing with rude customers, over-demanding bosses, and hard to get along with co-workers, most of us, would probably vote “people issues” as the greatest source of our workplace frustration. In this article, you will learn about key factors that can be used to better manage your workplace relationships and reduce the frustration that you may have as you interact with others on the job.

In his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes, “Emotional Intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.” He describes emotional intelligence as “managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals.”

How We Can Work Together Principles

According to Goleman the four major skills that make up emotional intelligence are:

1.      Self-Awareness: the ability to read one’s emotions and recognize their impact on our interactions and decision making.

2.      Self-Management: involves controlling one’s emotions and impulses and adapting as needed to changing circumstances.

3.      Social Awareness: the ability to sense, understand and react to others emotions while comprehending social networks.

4.      Relationship Management: the ability to inspire, influence and develop others while managing conflict.

Goleman asserts, “The good news for everyone is that the level of your emotional intelligence can continue to grow, develop, and change as it is largely a learned area of expertise.”

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

 According to Byron Stock &Associates, “The Development of Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills can benefit a broad range of people in the workplace. The examples below (from their website) explain how leaders and teams can benefit.”

Executives must make decisions daily that may make or break their companies. They must rely on more people than ever to achieve results they, personally, are held accountable for by the board. They must quickly and flexibly lead system-wide organizational change, while inspiring and energizing their followers. This constant, burdensome pressure can create feelings of anxiety, fear, caution, and even guilt and depression.

The wrong decision, an untimely decision or no decision may cause "The Street" to undervalue the company, hampering its ability to meet its goals and stockholder expectations. Research has shown that high EI skills are the distinguishing characteristics that separate star performing executives from average ones.

Enhancing leaders' EI skills enables them to lead with courage, demonstrate their passion, grow and retain talented leaders, and empathize with people while humanely challenging them to meet demanding business goals. The resilient, flexible, strong organizational culture that is created by such a leader attracts talented people, ensures organizational success (through thick and thin), and creates a lasting legacy.

Teams are shouldering more and more responsibility for major organizational initiatives. They are under pressure to work smoothly with people they may never see face-to-face both inside and outside their organization. Deadlines are tight, resources are scarce, technology is rapidly advancing, and team members are constantly changing. It's easy to be dejected, overwhelmed and confused as things change about you.

It's normal to feel angry when a team member doesn't deliver, disgusted when resources are taken away, and angry when you are still expected to meet tight deadlines. Team cohesion and effectiveness breakdown and progress slow to a creep. Product introductions are missed, and market share can be lost to competitors.

Teams with enhanced EI skills can dramatically shorten the storming phase of team formation. Team members deal effectively and efficiently with their own and other member's emotional turmoil, using it as a source for developing team cohesion and trust. Esprit de corps is developed with a can-do attitude. Major projects of significant importance to the organization are achieved on time and on budget. The organization gains a reputation as a great place to work and grow.

These examples provide you with just some of the benefits that come as a result of taking deliberate actions to develop your EI skills. Regardless of your position, enhancing your EI skills will help you to better manage workplace conflict, clear up misunderstanding and improve your day to day interactions with customers, bosses and co-workers. By developing your self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management skills, you will be more competent and confident in your ability to reduce the amount of frustration experienced in your workplace with your “people issues”. Improving your ability to work well with others will contribute to the happiness and success that you experience on your job.


References: Byron Stock & Associates,, September 26, 2012

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