Dealing with leadership frustration

AUDIO: Why Frustration is Crucial in Your Leadership

by Greg Yates | Breakthrough Leadership

Have you ever accepted a challenge that required you to grow and change before you could meet it?

Have you ever agreed to “teach” a class, only to find that you had to learn more than anyone else in order to teach it?

Recently, I was asked to address the topic of vulnerability in leadership. The more I brainstormed the topic, read about the topic and searched my own experiences, the more frustrated I became. I don’t like vulnerability. I don’t like the way it sounds. I don’t like how it makes me feel. I don’t like the unspoken stress it creates.

I prayed for more than a day about this struggle. I knew that it was not an area of success in my past. I tried to imagine it in play. I tried to interject it into some of the major projects of my career. When I stepped into those memories, no matter how vulnerable I might have felt, the idea of “displaying” vulnerability was repulsive.

I felt tension inside even trying to personalize this topic. I have always prided myself in my willingness to get out of my comfort zone but I always went there with a posture of IN-Vulnerability. Or so I thought.

Why Frustration Leads to Important Realization

That frustration led me to a realization. A breakthrough. Although I had never put into words, I leapt to my feet when the torment of problem solving frustration snapped me forward.

I realized that vulnerability in leaders is my entire story! My story of brokenness is the journey from invulnerability to vulnerability. From the pattern and head trash to the freedom and receptivity. The conjunction of my journey occurred when vulnerability became my reality and I accepted it.

I would never have found that breakthrough if I had not embraced the frustration and tension created by the question of my vulnerability. People who refuse to ask the hard questions–like me uncovering the role of vulnerability in my life–will deny the frustration that leads to their own breakthrough.

Frustration is Crucial in the Process of Growth and Leadership.

Many have used the analogy that growth is like a rubber band. It STOPS when you lose the tension between where you are and where you COULD BE.

Frustration is tied to our core strength. I have this image of the planks I did this morning. You aren’t going anywhere but the tension builds and the isometric nature of it brings benefit, even without a specific outcome or destination at all.

There are a number of great metaphors for frustration…

Stretching – I hate stretching but I know how critical stretching my muscles is to my flexibility and my mobility.

Comfort Zone – Getting out of our comfort zone increases the possibility for frustration.

Lack of control creates frustration. But lack of control is also essential if you want to build a team. There is a process that requires it. Entire team building reality is shared power and shared creativity. That creates frustration in the process of exponential growth.

Not many people want to stretch themselves; to have frustration OR stress. This is a powerful distinction related to leadership. This frustration is a key indicator.

Most people take the approach: the less you know the less you are expected to do. I call this “selective ignorance.” I find this useful in household chores!

But, the Breakthrough Leader KNOWS that Lack of frustration leads to lack of learning. Lack of learning leads to lack of growth. Lack of growth leads to status quo. Status quo leads to dissatisfaction (in my experience).

How you deal with frustration sets you apart from everyone else.

Engaging frustration in your leadership with proven Breakthrough Principles leads to guaranteed Breakthrough Leadership.

Add your comments to the conversation: Have you ever looked back on a frustrating season in your leadership life only to realize the critical training you received from it all? Post your reply below.

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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