ManagingPeople FrustrationsII-2
This is the last of a three-part series regarding the most common advice I provide in response to people frustrations.  In all cases, I have found that people frustrations can be resolved by focusing on Communication and Compassion.

The first challenge was focused on email, and I offered the “1-2-Meet” approach to improving response rates and engagement.

The next challenge was about reconciling differences of opinion, using the “Find the AND” approach.

What if the “1-2-Meet” or “Find the AND” approaches don’t seem to fit and we’re still frustrated? I have one last piece of people advice.  If we find ourselves getting frustrated, we just need to remember one universal truth…


It’s not about you

We each live every moment in our own skin, within our own minds.  It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts and ideas, efforts and convictions.

Then another person comes along that is caught up in their own life, thoughts, and ideas.   How often do we find ourselves getting frustrated by those individuals and their questions, actions, or inactions?

A few jobs ago, I had a manager with a struggling performer on her team.  She was not getting the results she expected and was frustrated by the lack of progress in spite of regular coaching.

In our conversations, I could hear just how fed up she was.  During one, I asked a simple question.  “Do you think she wakes up every day to make your life miserable?”

That pulled her up short.  “Of course not” she replied.  “Then why don’t you ask her what’s going on?  Why not get her perspective on why she’s struggling?”

I won’t share the particular struggles the young woman was experiencing, just that they were the root of her challenges.  The manager’s perspective shifted and her frustrations with the individual did as well.  She only wished she had known sooner what was going on so she could help.

She asked me if I knew.  I told her no, I didn’t.  What I did know was the answer was never going to be about the manager or me.  The answer was only going to be about that person.

We each come at every interaction from our own experience and perception.  It is rare that any of us goes out of our way to frustrate those around us.  Instead, we each come at things the best way we know how given where we are.

The key is to remember that it’s not about us.

Each person’s ideas, behavior, performance, or course of action is what they know to put forward in that moment.  All based on the information they have, prior experience, or modeled behaviors.

We need to ASK, or at least consider, where the other person is coming from.  If you find yourself getting frustrated and are not sure what do to – remember that it’s not about you, but don’t make it about them.

Sometimes asking is the very prompt someone needs to share the unshareable.  They need to know someone cares.  That they want to know.  


What is the best advice you have received about managing people frustrations?  Are there others you would add to this list?  I would love if you could add your thoughts to the comments and keep the conversation going.