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Leadership Techniques: When Frustrations Rise

Leadership Techniques: When Frustrations Rise

The temperature is rising. Hot days are here. The season of stifling hot autos, hot steering wheels, tiptoeing barefooted, wild fires, ice cream, swimming, softball, and BBQ’s are upon us. While the seasonal heat increases, temperatures rise in workplaces as well. Layoffs, increased workloads, limited resources, and increasing cost of living can cause short fuses and frustration in the workplace.

Conflict is a normal part of life such as what we see being demonstrated with legislators’ high frustrations and conflicts over debt talks today. The cost of unchecked workplace conflict is high tension, increased absenteeism and low concentration, ultimately impacting productivity.  Unchecked conflict can also result in loss of top talent.  Unhealthy workplace conflicts come in the form of disrespectful conversations, bullying and worse – workplace violence. We all deal with frustration differently. Some chose to deal with it on a healthy level while others do not.

If you find that increasing frustrations in the workplace are negatively impacting a healthy work environment, here are five leadership techniques in how to work through it.

1) Don’t ignore it –But disrespectful behaviors can get worse if it goes unchecked. It is important for individuals to understand expected and constructive ways to address their frustrations in the workplace.

2) Ventilation – Let people discuss their frustrations privately with you. Shutting people down is what causes the steam to build. Like a pressure cooker steam needs to get out somehow. Implementing grievance or fair treatment programs are also good facilitation tools that allow people to safely air their issues and get them resolved. Or developing a simple issues checklist to follow up on will convey to participants that they have been heard.

3) Communicate – Communicate, communicate, communicate. Individuals reading about their potential lay off in the newspaper will certainly add fuel to the conflict fire. While delivering bad news is never fun, the ultimate goal is that people feel respected. Repeat what you heard and ask questions to clarify the issues. Make sure you understand what the issue is and is not before taking actions.

4) Stay visible – The more visible the supervisor is the more apt people are to behave professionally and bring up issues quicker.

5) Get help – Finally, if you sense that an individual is near the brink of collapse, instability, refuse to correct the behavior or worse – get help. If you are not sure how to handle a situation you are not alone. Notify human resources or higher level leadership of any concerns. Employee Assistance Programs, legal counsel, and/or other resources may be utilized to assess and defuse potential harmful issues.

Overall, the employer has an obligation to providing a safe work environment. While temperatures may soar on the outside, they can remain steady in the workplace during these uncertain economic times.

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Tresha D. Moreland, MBA, MS, FACHE, SPHR, SSBBP, founder of HR C-Suite, is an HR thought leader in Human Resource Strategic Management. She has held key human resource leadership roles for over 20 years in multiple industries most recently a senior vice president in the healthcare industry. Tresha is the founder and publisher of HR C-Suite ( HR C-Suite is a game changer results-based HR strategy website. It is a first-of-it's-kind site that organizes HR strategy based on desired business result. She has developed a business philosophy of integrating human resources with business strategy, thus creating a hybrid HR leadership approach. This approach enables the leveraging human resources to achieve business results.

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