Keeping Your Cool At Work-How to Handle Work Frustrations

From entry level positions to executive titles that come with corner offices, there’s one issue that all share: dealing with work frustrations. A variety of personality types in one space are bound to result in interpersonal issues. Add in miscellaneous factors that affect your performance (like slow running software or inefficient company policies that haven’t been updated in decades), and you’ve got the ingredients for a perfect storm of frustration. Keep your cool at work with these tips:

  • Wait to Take Action

Pause and allow a moment to separate yourself from the situation before outwardly reacting. Even if the situation is critical and needs immediate attention, a 10 minute break will help you handle things with a better state of mind. It is difficult to look at issues and communicate them to others objectively if the emotion is fresh in the heat of the moment. This can make the frustration even worse, because people may brush off your valid points as you just being temporarily upset.

Whether it’s a conflict with a coworker or other complaint, wait until you’re more clearheaded before deciding how to handle the situation. A moment of emotional weakness in the form of an outburst could potentially derail the impact of your hard work. Instead, wait until you’ve calmed down so you don’t take action you’ll regret later. You may even find that by the next day, you’re not even as bothered anymore.  

  • Focus on Your Goals

Weigh your frustrations against your overall career goals to determine if the issue is worth pursuing a solution to an issue or simply letting it go. For example, it may be worth it to escalate an issue of a coworker taking credit for your ideas because it prevents others from recognizing your contributions, which could hurt your career progress.

On the other hand, it may be better to ignore a gossiping coworker or other similar annoyances. Their actions will eventually reflect badly on them, but you risk getting tangled into a sticky situation for something that doesn’t truly hinder your career objectives. Anytime you work with people, there will be ones whose personalities or actions simply don’t mesh with yours, so knowing when to let things go is an essential career skill.

  • Proactively Seek Solutions

Often work frustrations are the result of small issues that build up over time. The longer you allow it to continue, the more challenging it may be to resolve. If something is an ongoing issue that affects your ability to work, take back control by being proactive instead of handling situations as they come.

Brainstorm to develop ways of solving or at least alleviating your problems at work. This is more helpful than venting because focusing on the problem instead of the solutions just gets you caught in a state of negativity that makes you feel even worse about the situation.

  • Understand Other Viewpoints  

Conflict, both personally and professionally, is most often the result of a breakdown in communication between two people. When someone’s actions cause you frustration at work, it is easy to get caught in the mindset of immediately assigning blame to him or her; however, for every slacker or undermining colleague, there are likely many more whose intentions were not bad – even if the outcome was negative on your end.

Rather than getting upset, try to see things from their side. Ask questions about why they decided on their particular actions, or request their input for ideas on how to solve the problem. This turns conflict into collaboration and will improve your productivity and morale going forward.

It is part of human nature to struggle with balancing emotional impulses that can undermine your rational goals and desires. Don’t let a short-term annoyance or conflict derail your professional reputation and performance. Learning how to control your responses to work frustrations will allow you to ultimately turn conflict into career opportunity! 

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