Frustrated with Your Team?

We were getting ready to celebrate our daughter Reese and her eighth-grade promotion. And leading up to that day, there was a lot of planning, preparation, and tasks to check off the to-do list. I mean, just even thinking about that day. What time did Reese need to arrive at school? What time should we be there to reserve enough seats? What time should we tell the grandparents to be there? What are we going to get her as a gift? We need to order flowers and oh my goodness, we have nine people coming to our home immediately after the ceremony. We need to clean the house and order food. Where from? Who’s picking it up?

Okay, you get the picture – a lot to do. So it’s the day of promotion and I’m at home doing last-minute touchups, getting ready, and all of a sudden I find myself feeling really, really frustrated. And I am frustrated at my husband, Matt.

All of those things that I just listed for you, I was taking care of. I was doing all of the preparing, the planning, and the action, and I was immediately judging Matt and was this close to going into a reaction that would’ve blown up the entire day for everyone. Funny enough, this is exactly what we see leaders doing when it comes to their team members. When we are coaching leaders, we all too often hear, “I’m so frustrated at this team member because they didn’t do this. I’m frustrated because they didn’t do that.” You as a leader, having certain expectations of team members, when they don’t meet your expectations, you have a tendency to immediately go into casting judgment and then having a particular reaction.

That’s what I was doing. I was judging Matt, but fortunately before I reacted in a way that I knew I would regret, I instead reflected.

I reflected on, why am I frustrated? What were my expectations? And immediately I acknowledged I didn’t give any expectations, I just took it all on myself. I didn’t ask for help, and planning and preparing is one of my easy skills; it’s something that comes naturally to me and it isn’t for Matt, so it wasn’t even something that he would’ve thought of doing. So I know that after 20 years of marriage, I didn’t truly have a right to be frustrated because the expectations were not outlined. It wasn’t the capability or the strength of Matt, yet it was mine, and I never asked for help.

You as a leader, when you start to feel that frustration because a team member hasn’t met your expectations, before you react, take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself, were my expectations reasonable? Is this the right person who was even capable of meeting these expectations? Did I clearly outline these expectations? Did I offer support? Did we talk through the plan?

Take that time to reflect, for you as a leader. More often, I do see that leaders are the ones who, from the beginning stages aren’t setting up the team member for success. Go back, take that time. The next time you find yourself being frustrated instead of reacting, reflect. Why is it that you are truly frustrated at this team member and find that root cause and course correct. It’s going to make the expectations, the results, happen, make you feel better, and get that team member to a level of success that’s going to help them, you, and your organization.