The Secret to Frustration’s Guidance


Leaders who hurry always neglect people. If leadership is about people why rush like it’s about tasks?

But, when rushing is required, never rush alone. Mentor as you go. Enable future replacements.

Work yourself out of, not into, jobs. Exponential success requires taking things from your bucket and putting them in theirs.

But, prepare people before you let go.

Two extremes of preparation:

Letting go too fast:

I treat people like I like to be treated. I’m a learn-as-you-go type. My tendency is to give responsibilities without much preparation. Mistakes don’t bother me as long as we’re learning. Many people prefer more preparation than I need.

I frustrate those who need preparation. Learn-as-you-go leaders may need to stay closer, longer.

Hanging on too long:

On the other extreme, you may be a prepare-before-you-leap leader. You view others through your preference for preparation.

They chomp at the bit but you feel they aren’t ready. You frustrate others because preparation takes too long.

One guide, frustration:

Peak performance requires acceptable levels of frustration, anxiety, or stress. Skillful leaders manage rather than eliminate frustration in others.

Avoid letting go too fast or hanging on too long by monitoring frustration. But never fully eliminate frustration. In one case, frustration indicates you’re going too fast, in the other, too slow.

Accept frustration’s guidance. Avoid being frustrated with their frustration.

One principle, support:

Amy Lyman Cofounder of Great Place to Work® told me, “Employees in great places to work feel supported.” Support those who need more preparation by giving it. On the other hand, not helping, feels like support to others.

Fuel beneficial levels of frustration and give support at the same time.

They determine what support feels like, not you.

How can leaders determine when others are ready to take on new responsibilities?

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