Turn Your Work Frustration into Power (Part II)

In the last blog post of ‘From Workplace Woes to Workplace Wows’, we looked at how assessing our workplace frustration from another angle, a self-empowering one, provides us with more influence over our career reality. Today we continue to explore the relationship between problem and solution. How does doing inner work translate to outward results?

Why is addressing an issue with your boss – be it his/her lack of transparency, strict working hours, asking for an increase in salary or anything else that frustrates you – easier said than done, even when you’re clear on what you’d like to change? The main reason is that you give your own power away to the other party, through being afraid to open the issue, giving up, or believing change is simply not possible. Why shouldn’t you ask for time to openly discuss or request help when you’re unsure how to proceed?

You can empower yourself, or even regain lost power in many ways:

  1. Mentally remove the ‘rank and privilege’ barriers.

Most of us have blind spots regarding rank and privilege. It takes inner work to find out that we can, in fact, have an empowering kind of dialogue regardless of where we are in the hierarchy.

If you are too scared or intimidated to bring up an issue with your boss, is it possible that you are not seeing hope for mutual co-dependency? Perhaps you believe that your company is more important than you, while the truth is that each side brings equal value to the other. Beware – your thinking impacts your actions: if you think you are less important, you will be.  

Despite different ranks and personalities, you and your boss aren’t really all that separate, are you? The difference in salary, desk size, decision-making capability and other segregators can only cause angst if you give them importance.  These things cannot influence fully alone.

  1. Use values as a foundation for EVERYTHING.

Those situations that trigger workplace frustration often shine the light on values violations.  Yet how can anyone know what matters most to you if you don't live and breathe your values in everything you do? How can two people find commonality in their values if one’s values are never communicated, observed or shared? Once you uncover your values and they become part of your everyday fabric, others will be more willing to respect and regard them. Perhaps the concept of showing up fully @ work would be worth consideration?

From there, you will be able to continue exploring, co-creating shared goals, and acting with intention that serves positively. Acting and co-creating realities with intention is the perfect antidote for fear; bring others into your values and life rather than repel them away. This is the key to unlocking any unknown.

  1. Approach all interactions with an open mind.

If you approach difficult situations with an open mind, chances are that you will end up greatly surprised. When you come from a place of connection with your boss, explaining the benefits you would both enjoy in case of change, there is greater opportunity for both. If you enter a frustration with an attitude of ‘we will get through this somehow’, the next natural question is ‘how can we make this happen’ as opposed to ‘why can’t we get around these roadblocks’. This attitude drives a much more productive and collaborative use of time and effort.

Openness also allows alternative ways of thinking to enter the picture. Reframe many of the ‘time-tested and traditional’ beliefs in business by placing connection at their core. When you do so, much will change. Take for example conflict within a work-based relationship. Most people approach such conflict with a mindset of ‘who did what to whom, when’. Rather than continuing to partake in the blame-name-shame game, ask yourself: what is trying to happen here? This allows input from both sides and a new mutual space to be nurtured into something that serves.

So how does doing inner work translate to outward results? Inner work helps us remove fear-based defensiveness and enables us to reframe difference into opportunity for greater understanding. With that comes more appreciation and willingness to build solutions that work for both you and the other, resulting in your soaring credibility. When you look at your frustration, do you see separation or unity at its source?

Stay tuned - we’ll talk more about control and one’s so-called locus of control in one of our next issues.

Until then, we’d love to hear your comments and even questions about the concepts we shared in this blog. Do you find our examples clear and helpful? Is it challenging for you to see yourself and your boss as co-dependent? Do you have any other questions about addressing your workplace frustrations? Let us know – we are listening and happy to offer our expertise!

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