Twice in the same day last week I had conversations with people who are feeling frustrated with their experience of the organisation we all work for. I too was feeling frustrated – so that was three of us. Now I'm wondering whether there is a pattern of organisational frustration or even 'a culture of frustration'. Obviously three experiences in one day are not much to go on as a representative sample but I decided to explore the topic a bit. Googling (what else) various combinations of 'frustration/organ isations/behaviour' was quite fun. I found a whole academic Journal of Emotional Abuse and in it an article Organizational Frustration and Aggressive Behaviors. So that was a reasonable start point though I'm not sure any of us are going to go down the aggressive behaviours route.
But if we think we might be heading towards aggression, and depending on how aggressive we feel, we can take a look at 3 Easy Ways to Cope With Frustration (with Pictures), 4 Tips to Deal With Frustrating People , Frustration – 8 Ways to Deal With It, 10 Tips To Overcome Frustration!, or if we're feeling extra-high levels of aggression coming on and are also really keen on handling it we can try 33 Ways To Overcome Frustration .
As an aside it's interesting how we are attracted to a specific number of actions in relation to a problem. It seems to me to be treating a 'wicked problem' as a 'tame problem'. One of my frustrations is that my organisational colleagues are overly keen on numbers – quantitative, 'evidence based', information – that they think give a full picture of the issue, challenge or state of play. My readings of books like 'How to Lie with Statistics', and my general scepticism on reliance on numbers to give a rounded picture counts for little.
A quick scan of the tips and guidance focus on handling the frustrating situation we're in focus on dealing with our frustration rather than trying to change the frustrating situation itself. Is it really true, for example, that 'Your frustrations are significant because they indicate that you are being held back by self-imposed barriers, limitations and habits. You are the reason why you're feeling frustrated, and only you can break free from this cycle.' One of my frustrations is having a computer that takes 3 minutes to open a PowerPoint. (This is true). In fact my main source of frustration is inadequate technology. I am willing to say it is self-imposed and bring in my own devices but that leads to all kinds of repercussions.
In any organisation there are numerous system, process, and technology frustrations that could be designed out which would then leave us less stressed (maybe) when dealing with the people frustrations. For example, I had two process frustrations last week: the first trying to get a staff member's part time working hours approved. The second getting an on-line help guide to filling in a form only to find (when I still couldn't complete the form) that the screen form had been redesigned but the on-line help guide had not been adjusted to match!
Take a look around your organisation. You may well find that the frustrations people feel are due as much to system, process, environment, or equipment shortcomings than to interactions with individuals. Should we consider 3, 4, 8, 10, or 33 ways to overcome these I wonder or should we take an approach that better recognises the complexity of the situation, or should we do both?