I am annoyed & frustrated with my business colleague....now what?!
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Being frustrated by a business colleague is normal
When we bottle it up, we contribute to a quick cycle of escalation & increase the potential for explosive conflict
If you express & deal with your frustration early in a business team dynamic, it allows for dissipation of the tension & balancing harmony in the communication channels
If the frustration accumulates, we give off "meta-communication" or cues that trigger the other persons frustration, contributing to a cycle of full blown conflict over time
One cannot not communicate, so our stored & bottled-up frustration & building tension will show-up thru our body language, snappy tone or hasty pace (I wanna get away from you as fast as possible, or I'm fed up with you shows up one way or another)
What's worse, is over time, we lose sight of our appreciation for the other person (our object of frustration) & that we once shared a same team, common bond or other resonant connection that mattered or was cherished
So what can you do if you are frustrated with a business colleague?
First, start by taking time with yourself to acknowledge the presence of these emotions & frustrated feelings, and begin defining the underlying dynamic you don't like (for instance, if Bob, my cofounder always double checks what I tell him: I would want to define that when he double checks what I say it makes me feel like he doesn't trust my judgment or word, and that makes me feel....)
Journaling or physically writing it out (if you don't have a journal helps) -- make sure you get it out of your head and in physical form so you can begin to objectively see the dynamic from both sides
Second, ask gently if the person is willing to have a candid conversation with the Intention to restore clarity & harmony in the dynamic (Bob, I've been feeling like things may have gotten ((past tense to foster psych safety)) off track & I'd like to chat to both clear the air and restore our momentum....)
If the person is receptive to a dialogue, then you can reference my prior posts "How to Have a Difficult Conversation" & "Constructive Communication" for substantive tips on how to actually structure & handle the clarifying conversation
If the person is not receptive to your invitation, then look at the alternative: is there any thing I can do unilaterally to ease my frustration with this dynamic?
Sometimes seeing all the positive things Bob is doing as my cofounder or the benefits of his double-checking (this is re-framing perspective & helps restore appreciation to override the frustrated emotions)
Likewise, you can see if there is anyway to understand WHY the other side is doing what they are doing (a little creative brainstorming goes a long way here) to address their why/need -- such as, if I explore and find that Bob double checks even his own work by having his assistant look at it, then I understand he simply has a need to have a 2nd set of eyes glance over ones work -- so, here's how I approach him at our next meeting: "Bob here's the latest financial statement for our last quarter with my notes for how to trim some far off our expenses AND I took the liberty of having our CFO and your assistant take a 2nd glance"
And if the situation has gotten out of hand, take some time away from the other person -- some personal time for a retreat to regroup & refresh your energy and perspective
Doing this early allows the team dynamic to stay smooth & sustainable, avoiding escalation to unbearable levels or "the point of no return"
If you face serious accumulation to the point that the team dynamic has become toxic, hire immediately a trained facilitator to guide the difficult conversation necessary to prevent implosion or rupture of the business relationship from further strain, built-up hostility or toxicity in the team's space
Sometimes, good old fashioned time away from the other person does the trick
Whether you bring in an experienced Facilitator, have a direct constructive dialogue to get back on track, or any other co-creative method, continue doing your best to keep your business team moving forward
"Never leave an account unsettled with an enemy, because the more things stay at the latent stage, the more hate nourishes it at the risk of growing -- a bomb with a long fuse can be lit years before it explodes and the day when the detonation occurs, the harm is considerable; it's better to defuse the bomb, to not let the threats of hatred linger around us or in the unconscious" - Alejandro Jodorowsky