I recently navigated a scenario with our team where a leader admitted that he felt overlooked, unheard, and unappreciated when a key decision was made. This leader wrote a strong email admitting his frustration to one of our staff members and copied me.
As I read his email, I felt strongly that this scenario would be a lesson from God for all of us in how to handle frustration. You see, even though this scenario placed our staff member in the difficult position of answering the frustration, the same scenario has played out before where they were sitting in the frustrated seat. And even as I realized that, God reminded me that I also have been in that seat quite a few times. All of us have. The question is “how do we handle it?”.
Based on experience from both sides of the frustration, here are a few lessons I have learned:
1. Always go up. Up the ladder or the chain of command, that is. When you are bothered about something, it’s one thing to share your pain with your peers or those you supervise. But this inevitably only furthers the angst in the organization. If you want to help move the team toward health, you need to share your feelings with your supervisor or leader above you and work it out there.
2. Consider your own contribution. I’m not saying your frustration is your fault, but there really are two sides to every story. Were you available to offer input when the item was being discussed? Or were you too busy or out that day? Taking responsibility for part of the situation will make it easier to approach your leader with grace.
3. Bring an alternate solution. Leaders in many cases are trying to solve problems. If you feel frustrated with how your leader is handling something, rather than just voicing your feelings, can you bring a new perspective or alternate idea?
4. Extend grace both ways. Believe the best. In 15+ years of ministry, I have been frustrated and been guilty of frustrating others. Never once was anyone malicious in their decision making that led to that frustration. Get humble and seek out your leader with a heart for reconciliation. “God gives grace to the humble…”
How about you? Any other tips for navigating frustration?