Do you suffer workplace frustration because of the policies, practices, procedures or people in your Company? Have you ever had to say “Good Grief” or some other expletive during a tense moment? You’re not alone…

You can use your workplace frustration as a tool to improve your job and your Company. If you’re the CEO or owner of a Company then what you say and do has real impact and you’re responsible for all the good and bad. If you’re not the CEO or owner then you can’t quickly change the way things are but you can use the system you work in to steadily make changes.

During a frustrating moment at work that makes you want to interject a suitable expletive that can simply be translated to “*Good Grief*!” – instead of letting the moment get to you, use it to give back some good grief. That is, a modicum of good grief from you can lead to change and reinforcement. The up-side from your reaction is the realization for others that doing things right the first time is less expensive and doing things differently to get the same result can reduce expenses.

Your system of work is not that much different from other systems. There are inputs and outputs and streams of work product that flow into other streams. These processes and products are checked and sometimes re-checked to provide management and Customers with assurance that operations and products are as-designed instead of causing workplace frustration. You’re ability to give good grief resides within one of those checks and balances. Your system of work has a reporting structure that enables you to fix problems that occur in the process or product. Use the “report” as often as is physically possible to make the problem visible. You are constantly “in discovery” with your work product, which means you are continuously improving or preventing problems to prevent workplace frustration.

Sometimes, you fix things without thinking and that’s Ok as long as you are doing the work. If you get promoted or go-away then the next person must duplicate your job. If they don’t, the system you’ve fixed reverts to some previous state that requires a new discovery of an old problem. That’s why it’s so important to give back good grief.  Your good grief actually documents your discoveries so they can be used to change the process or product to keep the work system on track instead of causing workplace frustration.

Of course, a decision by management to continue to live with a problem is possible and desirable for many reasons that you can’t know because you touch only a small piece of the total operation. Therein lies another salvation for you. If you assiduously report what you know and management decides to continue to work, then you’ve done your job to prevent workplace frustration. Your ethics are intact and so are management’s because tough decisions are their responsibility.

The documentation and visibility of the decision is the true measure of its ethical status. In any work system, the definition of ethical behavior is the ability to question a decision, understand its reason, and live with the consequences. If there is no ethical process to make decisions, then you have an improvement opportunity to enable an ethical process. If the system can’t be examined under a microscope, then it will eventually self-destruct. Unethical business behavior has its own reward, which usually means – garbage in – garbage out.