My boss never gives me a straight answer.

How can I supervise someone who doesn’t want to work hard?

I shouldn’t have to do my peer’s job for him.

Are simmering frustrations affecting your performance? How we handle irritations (or not), contributes to the intensity of our annoyance.

Some of the most insidious types of frustrations are the ones that you don’t resolve. You might think you’ve done your part – asked the right questions, delegated fully or communicated your expectations. You adopt the attitude of, hey, I tried, but it didn’t work. You give up, and try not to think about it, but the tension is still there.

Allowing these undercurrents to remain will keep you stuck, unable to move forward. Because simmering has a way of intensifying these grievances, your angst increases over time. Should someone inadvertently push one of your buttons, your reaction will seem way out of proportion to the current situation. These unresolved issues are potential landmines for you and those around you.

How can you address your pent-up frustrations?

Make good choices yourself. The only person you can control is you. Have your actions contributed to the situation? Rather than dwelling on what others should do, take positive action that is focused on the greater good. And be willing to admit that you bear some responsibility as well.

Figure out if you can do anything. Something might bug you, but is it really something you can mitigate? If you can’t control or influence the situation in any way, let it go. If it’s a minor detail or simply a difference in approach, make a conscious choice not to worry about it. Reserve your energies for the things that you can change – and that impact your life and the organization’s success.

Assume positive intent. Thinking things like, Sue is lazy and won’t ever change, not only won’t resolve your issue, it will amplify it. Assume that the Sue’s intent is positive, and that she might not be at fault. Listen with an open mind, working hard to understand her reality.

Communicate well. Was your initial communication perfectly clear and fully representative of your feelings about the issue? Does the other person understand the issue in the same way you do? If you don’t check, you can’t be sure. Address the issue again. This time, choose your words carefully and listen well. Ask the other person to summarize his understanding as you talk. What you hear may surprise you.

Clearly state your own expectations and needs. Even if you think you’ve already done this, restate what you need or want out of the situation. Too often people soft-pedal when it comes to their expectations, and then become frustrated when their needs are not met. Hinting that you think you might be ready for a promotion is not the same as stating your case decisively.

Martyrdom and leadership can’t co-exist. Allowing issues to smolder makes you cranky, unpredictable and ineffective, and the effects multiply over time. Whoopi Goldberg once said, “I don’t have pet peeves. I have whole kennels of irritation.” Free yourself from your irritations with some crystal clear communication, complete listening and a healthy dose of humility.

Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!