Frustration in professional management isn’t uncommon. In fact, a survey of 2,250 workers and managers by jobs board Total Jobs found that 33% of UK workers hide their emotions with a ‘positive face’ at work, and 59% have felt emotions they feel they can’t express at work.

As is the case in any role at any level, it’s possible to experience frustration or lack of fulfilment in a management role. It’s indispensable to identify your dissatisfaction and its causes, and to then take measures to remedy the situation… ideally, by moving into a more challenging role.

In this post, we cover some of the factors that can heighten frustration in professional management. We follow this up with some steps you can take to combat these feelings and make positive changes to your situation.

Four major causes of frustration

The fact that professional management entails so many different responsibilities means that frustration can stem from more than one source. Below we’ve outlined some potential reasons you might not be feeling fulfilled in your duties.

1. Lack of growth

You’ve progressed to a certain point in your management journey, but discussions about promotion, taking on more responsibilities, new projects, and other signs of growth have dried up. Growth is an important part of professional management, and lack of growth can diminish your enthusiasm for a role and cause your frustration to escalate simultaneously.

2. Being told your ideas are overly ambitious

Part of good management is recognising opportunities for growth: for yourself, for your team, and the company. If you’re serving in an organisation that operates with more of a fixed mindset, however, you can find yourself encountering resistance. Colleagues and superiors may be oblivious to the opportunities, or they may acknowledge them but tell you you’re ‘too ambitious’. This will trigger frustration because they’re stifling possible growth and, potentially, allowing competitors to gain the upper hand.

3. Not feeling challenged

Growth requires the experience of pressure; an acceptable level of work-related challenges can help good managers become great. Overcoming obstacles is a natural part of management, but if tasks become routine to the point you switch to autopilot, this will drain you personally and professionally. You may become complacent and make mistakes because you’re thinking less critically about what you’re doing.

4. Dated tech is holding you back

Technology is evolving constantly, and although you may be highly skilled, these skills can only carry you so far if your organisation is utilising dated technology. Digital transformation is crucial to remain competitive, and if a company isn’t following technological developments, this will cause you annoyance and your organisation to fall behind its competitors.

Preparing for change

It’s important to acknowledge your frustration, but it’s equally essential to understand that you can make change happen. Below we suggest five measures you can take to turn things around mentally and professionally.

1. Find something positive about the situation

Change is possible, and it begins with transforming your mindset. Despite the way you feel about your role, the situation will have some advantages to it. Your task is to identify these positives. This shift in perspective will alter the way you view your role so that you can cope with the dissatisfaction you’re experiencing by seeing it as an opportunity rather than a setback.

2. Speak to a superior

A conversation with your superior can prove constructive and prevent resentment from boiling over. By speaking to your manager, you give them the opportunity to become aware of issues they may not have otherwise known about, and you afford them a chance to make meaningful changes.  

The purpose of this conversation isn’t to launch an attack on the organisation or how it operates. The question is one of stating your position, discussing the issues you would like to see changed, and working with your manager to identify ways to overcome them.

3. Take active steps and learn what to do to get promoted

Your employment contract may be indefinite, but that doesn’t mean you have to remain in the same role forever. Think about your organisation’s values, its mission and vision, and calculate what it would take to get promoted. This understanding of the requirements to move forward will reduce your frustration, directing your focus away from the problem and towards solutions. A proactive approach also highlights your innovative thinking and commitment to the organisation.

4. Form an action plan

Research builds confidence and helps you uncover solutions. Constructive conversations bring issues to the fore and lead to solutions. The two combined form a foundation for you to devise a plan of action that will bring positive change in your situation, such as promotion to a more fulfilling role, or adaptations to your current role that more aligns with your ambitions and capabilities.

Vitally, you should analyse your skill set and the level to which you’d like to progress in management and contemplate the courses that could facilitate results. We offer a range of courses accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) that will support your professional development goals by providing you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in your endeavour.

5. Consider leaving

We believe there is always an opportunity to induce change. Your frustration in your role, however, could generate friction and potentially lead to a damaged reputation. s. If your levels of frustration overwhelm you to this point, and there seems to be no amicable solution in sight, it may be best to leave your organisation and find more professionally rewarding work. 

Your role may have been a perfect fit at the start, but jobs can deteriorate into ones that no longer suit your skillset or that you just don’t enjoy anymore. By staying in a role in which you’re unhappy, you’re depriving yourself of opportunities for growth or fulfilment elsewhere. Moving on to pastures new is sometimes the best thing for you and for your current organisation, which are dealing with an employee that may not be as productive or as engaged and is no longer vested in the goals of the organisation.

Book a management and leadership course with us

We don’t want you to settle for less than you deserve, so why not enrol in one of our CMI- accredited courses as part of your action plan? The courses can lend a considerable boost to your career prospects, making you an attractive candidate for roles at higher levels inside or outside of your organisation. 

To book a course, click on the relevant course page, or to find out more about our courses, you can reach us at enquiries@inpd.co.uk, through the form on our Contact Page or by telephone on 0161 826 3139. We’re here to support you on your professional development journey and will be happy to help you find a course that will help you move away from frustrations and secure a more fulfilling role.


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