Merge's Blog

Don’t let your anger send the wrong message to your staff and co-workers

businessman in anger screaming puff going out from earsLet’s face it, if you’re in a position of leadership, there are times when your staff (or your peers, or your boss) will do or say stupid things that will drive you nuts, enough that their actions may cause you to get angry enough to explode. Don’t. Your expression of anger says more about you than it does about them. When you get visibly angry, what you’re really saying, whether you mean to or not, is “I feel like I have lost control, so I have lost control.” What you’re really doing is saying that you feel helpless. Which often is the exact message that you don’t want to communicate.

Instead, improve your success as a leader by learning how to manage your anger. Here’s an approach that I’ve used for many years. First, buy yourself some time by counting to ten in your mind, or by doing mental math. Then, consciously and deliberately ask yourself some questions:

  • How important is my relationship with this person?
  • Is this situation similar to an experience from my past?
  • What is at risk in this situation?

The answers to these questions will help you formulate how best to address the frustrating circumstances.

Now having said this, I am well aware that it’s sometimes easier said than done. It takes presence of mind to fall back to thoughtful anger management in the heat of the moment. But I can tell you (from personal experience) that the more I try to remember this, the better I get at controlling my anger. I am an ongoing work in progress 🙂 !

So … I’m curious to hear your perspectives. What approach do you take to managing anger? Something similar to mine? Or do you think it’s just better to just let it all out in an angry outburst. Please share your experiences by commenting below.

6 thoughts on “Don’t let your anger send the wrong message to your staff and co-workers

  1. I like to ask myself – Is it true? Does this make sense? What role did I play in this outcome? Usually the answers lead to more questions. Do I have enough information? Who should I be talking with? Is there a simple solution?

    1. I use analogy of a lame person to calm me down. I say to myself if I see a lame person walking in a crooked manner do I get upset or sympathetic. Same approach I take towards the person whose crooked behavior upsets me. I try to be sympathetic towards his handicap of upsetting me and others.

      1. Excellent point Syed. Changing your perspective or trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes also works well in de-escalating my personal anger.

    2. Good questions to add to the list Bonnie. I agree that the answers lead to more questions, but I think that’s a good thing. For me, the rational question-answer approach shifts my brain from emotional to logical, which means that the situation begins to de-escalate (at least in my mind) and I can better manage my anger.

  2. I don’t call it Anger Management. I call it Managing Me!! This allows me to take full responsibility. It also allows me to say to myself, “Hey, it’s just Me!! I can change Me!! It doesn’t have to be this way. I can be much more helpful to Me and those around Me.”

  3. Robert, you show great presence of mind! My challenge is that in the heat of the moment, I don’t always remember to reflect inwardly. It’s far easier to blame the other person 😛

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