Frustration is a problem that can affect even the healthiest workplaces. The simple act of bringing people together under the daily stressors of work and office life inevitably means something will crack.
Whether it’s a specific season with extra pressure or long-ignored problems, eventually, people will become frustrated, and, as a manager, it’s your job to address it. Here are three tips for handling frustrated employees.
Face the frustration head-on
If you notice behavioral changes in an employee or hear rumors about something happening, address him or her directly. The key to getting a real answer comes down to how you approach them. For all you know, it could be related to your leadership or a decision you’ve made, and they may be reluctant to tell you.
Encourage them to be honest and keep your tone curious and empathetic. You need to be prepared to hear whatever they have to say without getting defensive or upset. If they begin to notice a change in your demeanor, they may shut down.
Discover the cause and solution
In these conversations, your goal is to discover the reason for the frustration. It may take speaking to several employees with issues before you can begin to see a clearer picture of what’s upsetting your team.
Once you’ve nailed down the main cause, you need to find a solution. It could be something you can handle yourself or may involve additional leadership, but either way, make sure your employees know what you’re doing. If they aren’t on board with your solution, the frustration will only continue. Ask them for suggestions along the way to make sure they feel heard.
Once you know what you want to set in place, you may face delays in getting approvals or implementing changes. Sometimes, you might even get told something can’t happen. Whatever you hear, make sure your team is also aware. Being honest with them without the process can keep frustration from growing because instead of feeling like you’re withholding, they’ll see you’re as proactive as possible to find a resolution.
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