Frustration is on the rise in workplaces these days. I see this when I go into companies and interview people on organizational culture. It’s not always because of a bad boss, or economic pressures, or that people must work harder and faster with less support staff. All that contributes, for sure.
Frustrations can be caused by the drama of completing major projects on time, but they can just as well be triggered by the minutia of day-to-day activities. Computer crashes, faulty data, last-minute changes, misunderstandings, interruptions, and traffic challenges all add up to stress. Aggravations accrue, and like water reaching a boil, someone explodes or implodes.
Unless we get a hold on the rising tide of frustrations and stress at work, people can’t be expected to contribute in healthy, creative ways. Individuals can’t do their best work when feeling exhausted.
I see this climate of stress to be constant, no matter how much people love their jobs, their company, and their boss. It’s not going away and it’s only getting worse. It permeates everything in society: travel, schools, home, sports.
In fact, one conflict management expert, Anna Maravelas, author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress, writes this:
Modern civilization is teetering on the brink of an epidemic in “emotional-idiocy.”
Workplaces are especially vulnerable to the emotional carry-over from stressful traffic commutes. When we arrive at work already exhausted, it sets the tone for the day.
- The American Automobile Association reports that intentional driver-to-driver violence has increased 51 percent in the last decade.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers “road rage” the number one traffic problem.
- The US Department of Transportation believes that 2/3′s of fatalities are attributable to aggressive driving.
Making matters worse, many people listen to talk radio shows during their commute. Twenty years ago there were a dozen vehement, shock-jock radio stations. In 2004 there were more than 1,000.
All this negativity fuels a stressful environment, pushing our emotional intelligence to its limits. We can easily tumble into emotional-idiocy, creating even more problems than we relieve.
When people are in that space of negativity, they’re primed to respond with anger, blame, and contempt. It’s a normal reaction to relieve stress and frustration.
Otherwise smart and kind people become aggressive and hostile…and stupid. It’s easy, it’s natural, and while providing some temporary relief, does long-term damage to our minds, our relationships, and our creativity. Stress can cause serious health problems and shorten our life expectancy.
How much frustration are you dealing with on a daily basis? What are you doing to relieve it?