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Have you observed changes in an employee’s behavior recently? Do you suspect this person is frustrated, but find yourself unsure about what to do? When left unattended, frustration can take a severe toll on your team, as even your most upbeat employees will slowly succumb to the vibes being given off by their frustrated colleagues.

The good news is that addressing the problem isn’t as daunting as it may initially appear.

The Root Causes of Frustration

Frustration can be caused by any number of things, but the most common are:

  • Excess pressure on an employee to perform
  • A feeling of being under-appreciated in the workplace
  • Depression

Irrespective of the root cause, once observed, here are a few critical steps you should take to help remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Meet with Your Employee

Meeting the affected staff member is a crucial step when dealing with frustrated employees. When done properly, this is oftentimes enough to correct the problem. This is because meeting with a frustrated employee lets them know that you’re aware their behavior has changed, and you’re concerned. That is sometimes all people need to get back on their feet. 

Step 2: Check Your Employees’ Work Environment

Regardless of whether step 1 solved the problem, it’s still very important to carry out step 2. Evaluate the working conditions that your frustrated employee goes through every day to see what’s happening. If you have more than one frustrated employee on your hands, try to figure out what they both have in common. Multiple employees battling frustration could be a red flag that something in the office isn’t right.

Be sure to check things like:

    • The working conditions of your frustrated employee(s)
    • Recent projects the employee(s) worked on – or are currently working on – which could lead to elevated levels of stress
    • Meet with their co-workers and ask questions to try and pinpoint what could potentially be the root cause of their unhappiness 

Step 3: Be Realistic about the Situation

After you’ve collected all the facts, you’ll need to figure out where you go from here. For example, if the root cause of an employee’s frustration is the result of working conditions, you’ll need to figure out what can be done to change them. On the other hand, however, if everything is fine at the office and your employee’s frustration is the result of something you have no influence over, you’ll need to confidentially discuss options, like taking some time off of work.

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