3 Reasons You Might be Frustrated with Your Employees

blog Jun 05, 2022

One of the most common, and annoying, challenges we face as business owners is when we have a staff member who is frustrating us! Sound familiar?


It takes up headspace, energy, time, and ultimately distracts us from focusing on more positive actions and activities in our business.


Often we can clearly identify why we are so frustrated, but sometimes it more subtle, and even hard to put your finger on, and these are the trickier situations to manage. When we are clear on why we are frustrated, we can talk to the employee, articulate the problem, state what needs to change and work on a path forward. Whereas when the issue is more subtle and difficult to identify, it’s hard to know what to do. What ends up happening is the frustration builds, and often we lose sight of what we originally were reacting to, and everything starts to frustrate us when it comes to that team member.


Fundamentally, when we are frustrated with one of our team, it’s because they aren’t meeting our expectations. That might be performance based expectations, relating to how they perform their role, or it could be behaviours based expectations, when they are behaving as we expect at work.


Before we can manage this mismatch in either performance or behaviours and our expectations, we must get clear about what our expectations are. Surprisingly this isn’t always that simple, and when we aren’t clear ourselves on our expectations, how on earth can we expect our team members to know, and meet, these expectations.


Once we’re clear about our expectations, it’s always worth doing a check to make sure our expectations are reasonable for the person and the role. there is absolutely no point having expectations for any of your team which are impossible for them to meet – that’s only setting them up for failure. Assuming we have gotten clarity about our expectations, and we know that they are realistic and reasonable, importantly we need to ensure we have communicated and articulated these expectations to our team. Our people can’t read our mind, and what we think is ‘obvious’ isn’t necessarily to others, so communicating clearly is critical.


Assuming we are clear on our expectations, they are reasonable, and we’ve clearly articulated them, and we are still frustrated, what’s next?


If you still find yourself frustrated by an employee, it comes down to 3 main causes:

  • There is a skills gap;
  • Their motivation is missing in action;
  • You’re trying to put a square peg in a round hole.


The Skills Gap
The skills gap frustration presents itself in a way that often has us compensating for, or making excuses for the employee, even though we know they aren’t up to the task. We do this because actually we quite like them, and so does the rest of the team. They try hard, they are reliable, they want to do well, and they’re a great fit – and that makes the gap in their skills harder to address.

Skills gaps can show up at different times. Of course, they are there when you hire someone who doesn’t have the skills for the job – either because you weren’t clear what skills you needed in the role, or because what they communicated they could, they simply can’t. Possibly the role has outgrown them, and the skills they once needed for the role are no longer enough.


Motivation is Missing in Action
For me this is the most frustrating issue to deal with. Mainly because you know this person has great skills, and is capable of so much more, but getting them to do the bare minimum is a constant challenge. They are turning up, and going through the motions, but that’s it.

The missing motivation can happen slowly, over a period of time, and when that happens you may find little things frustrating you, and then things get better temporarily, before you’re getting more and more frustrated, more and more often. This cause of frustration is definitely not going to get better on it’s own, and will require some deliberate action on your part to turn things around.


Square Peg in a Round Hole
When something doesn’t fit, sometimes no matter what you do there is no making it fit, and that’s what is causing this point of frustration. The employee has great skills for the role, and quite often they are motivated and show initiative, but when they do it can make your cringe.


You want to keep this person around, because finding someone else with their skills set will be almost impossible. But the truth is, no matter how technically brilliant they are, when they don’t fit in with the team, when the cultural fit isn’t there and when there is a huge gap between their values and yours, this can be one frustration point that’s hard to fix.


Now of course this can seem simple, and quite often you’re frustrated due to a combination of these three things, but almost certainly – provided you’re clear on your expectations and so are your team – it will come down to one, or a combination of these 3 reasons.


A gift for you - Is It Me Or Is It Them?

I have a little sometime for you. If you have a frustrating employee on your hands I have created a great new resource to help you identify what sort of problem you are dealing with, and the exact strategy you need to fix the problem.


Click here to get your free copy of the Guide.



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.