Once upon a time early in my career I got frustrated with people who got things wrong, or were considered as difficult to work with. Perhaps they didn’t listen to me, perhaps they didn’t understand me, or perhaps they understood me but they just couldn’t be bothered applying what I said. Either way, I was frustrated with them. This frustration wasn’t for a lingering second or minute either. It really drove me up the wall and all I would want to scream out loud is “why don’t you get it?!?!”. This frustration ate into my mindset, killed my motivation, and very often would write off my day with me being angered and muttering under my breath about the whole scenario.

Then it happened. I can, to this day, remember the very moment that someone said to me an excellent phrase, it was like lightening had struck.

all intentions are good

This one very simple statement removes the emotion from the issue and allowed me to tackle the actual problem at hand. “How?” I hear you ask.

Well, once I understand that a person doesn’t come into work thinking “I’m going to screw up today”, “I’m going to frustrate someone today” or “I’m going to find something difficult to understand” then it enabled me to see the situation for what it was; that person came into work with good intentions.

With my anger removed I was able to see the situation more clearly and assess it in a logical manner, getting a better understanding on what the issue was and how to resolve it.

If you encounter this scenario, then before you get frustrated with someone, I would urge you to remember “all intentions are good”. Focus on the actual problem at hand, thus being able to get to the root of the issue in a positive constructive way, which you could then address.

The following are just some of the causes of frustrations I have come across.

  • Training method – Some people learn visually, some learn with theory, others with practice. Understand what works best for individuals and then you can implement training methods that will achieve the required output. Teaching someone repeatedly in a way that doesn’t work well for them won’t all of a sudden improve the result of the training. Find out what works best for that person and develop methods to train the individual in a way that suits.
  • A chain of command – All too often people can bear their workload all on their own shoulders. I’m not talking about accountability here, I’m talking about having multiple problems to solve and feeling like you have to tackle them all on your own. Perhaps you are asking something of someone but they are already overwhelmed by their current workload and don’t know who to ask for help. Worse still, they don’t ask anyone, fret about what to do and then underperform due to not being able to meet all demands made of them. Knowing who to turn to for support and decision making, and making that support accessible and readily available can help an individual get the focus that they need.
  • Personal Support – Being able to separate work life from personal life is a skill. Even for individuals who hold a very high level of this skill. Being able to identify and recognise when someone needs a little space and support can actually help them to be productive at work. Stress and pressure on the person will only contribute towards a decline in the persons productivity and wellbeing. Not to mention that if this continued, you are also at risk of the person becoming unmotivated and ultimately losing them as a member of the team.
  • Valued – Knowing what makes a person tick, knowing how to motivate them and how to make them feel appreciated can go a heck of a long way towards making them feel valued. If they feel valued and feel like you are investing in them, then they are more likely to invest back into you and the business. Asking a favour of someone shouldn’t be because they are the only person available, or because someone else busy, but because you think they are the most appropriate person to do it and you value their efforts in it.
  • Challenged – Perhaps someone at work is unmotivated and is “quite lazy” because they are not challenged. A challenge, one that develops our professional, personal and technical skills can help to keep us on our toes and give us focus in our working day. Recognizing where challenge is needed can help make a person more responsive and more productive.

These are just some of the things that I bear in mind in the workplace when i’m frustrated with a person. Regardless of the root cause of the frustration, I try to remember that all intentions are good.