Frustration. Frustration can make us say and do things we would not normally say or do. Interacting in the workplace while frustrated has the potential to cause significant problems. We could inadvertently make a discriminatory comment and/or offend someone.
In Human Resources, I hear frustration expressed as “why didn’t the associate follow proper procedure; are they just stupid?” From a loss prevention standpoint, frustration may arise when you visit a location and the same issues consistently need to be addressed. You may think “is this manager an idiot; why can’t they correct and resolve these issues?” You may feel furious that you have to spend your time pointing these things out to them again and again.
In her article Furious to Curious, Madeleine Van Hecke, PhD, offers three tips to looking at these infuriating situations from a different perspective and possibly resolving the issue(s) causing the frustration and in turn, eliminate it.
Dr. Hecke’s 3 tips are:
Ask the person what is going on, but in a truly inquisitive tone of voice
Consider they may have a “blind spot” in understanding the issue
Consider YOU may have a blind spot and are unable to see it from their perspective.
Blind spots can exist for both the receiver and the sender of the message. Before judging too harshly, look at the situation from the other’s point of view. When you make that next visit to a location and the same issue has not been resolved since the last time you were there, try a different approach. In a “coaching tone” make some inquiries, such as: “
What strategies have you developed to address this issue?”
“What part of the plan worked; what didn’t work?”
“What resources do you feel you need to resolve this issue successfully?”
These types of questions will encourage dialogue. Avoid using an accusatory tone and statements such as “what is wrong with you?” This will only put the receiver on the defensive and the answer you get will be a series of excuses.
Approaching a problem from a different perspective can help:
Reduce stress and frustration
Enhance problem solving
Create rapport and effective communication
It’s always best to give yourself a “time out” when you feel the frustration mounting. Take some deep breaths and go from furious to curious; it’s in everyone’s best interest.
How do you handle trying to get store management and associates to best resolve loss prevention or operational concerns? Do you have a tip for our readers? Leave a comment.
Written by Claire Gibbons
Director of Human Resources