Communications Open Forum

Frustration in Dispatch: What Conversation Are You Avoiding?

By Heather Joyner posted 02-11-2019 09:49


There are many challenges working in a 911 PSAP, call center environment. The challenges are not only in the skills of performing the job but also in the managing of energy around other co-workers. Some co-workers will bring out the best in you while others will test you to the nth degree.

In my experience of managing, there have been multiple times where I have played a role in working with personnel to address an issue that otherwise would not have been resolved without mediation. From these encounters, there is one emotion that continues to raise its head that tells me when someone has allowed a situation to go on for way too long. That emotion is frustration.

When listening to a co-worker or personnel talking about an incident, listen to the emotion of how they are talking about it. When you hear the passion of frustration in their voice and witness their body language in how they are talking about the situation, ask the question, "How long has this been going on?" I think you might be surprised at the response. 

Now, if we were in a workshop and someone was talking about their challenges we would all have the answer or the antidote, but my friends, we don't live in a workshop environment, but in the real-world of distractions and avoidance.

Awareness is the key for course-correcting or redirecting behavior. I challenge you to listen to the conversations taking place in your PSAP and instead of jumping in with your "two cents" or reacting to the emotion by becoming defensive, listen for the root issue as if you were listening to someone share the same challenge in a workshop. From the bridge perspective, you will see with different eyes how you can be part of the solution, or even play a role in coaching others to find their power.

In order for positive behavior change to happen, stop relying on others to get it through your innuendos and have an authentic conversation. Start with your intention for the outcome and align your efforts of support to co-create that change.