Angry feelings at work can get the best of any of us, even the generally laid back and easygoing personality. Many of us spend our days in an office environment that can be stressful, and cause us to have to rely on other people that may not live up to expectations. New management, budget cuts, layoffs, and hours of overtime can make it really difficult to maintain your calm, at precisely the time you need it most. Unmanaged anger can be one of the most destructive emotions to have at work because it creates a negative, disrespectful and unproductive atmosphere and your co-workers might actually become afraid of you. I can recall a story from one of our clients about a supervisor who would turn red in the face and would throw file folders of work back at his employees if he didn’t like the results. Papers would fly everywhere and the employee would be left to pick up the mess and try to gain some composure before filing back to his or her workspace. However, when the company was sold to a larger conglomerate, this supervisor was one of the first to go. He didn’t get his behavior under control and the HR department had recorded numerous complaints against him as both an employee and a supervisor.
According to research, some of the most common negative emotions at work are aggravation and anger. If you find yourself having trouble managing this anger, instead of blaming circumstances around you, it’s time to learn how to problem solve, manage your stress, effectively communicate with your co-workers and most importantly take responsibility for your behavior! Learning these new skills can be life changing and save your job.
To accomplish this task, there are some key things that successful people do when they start to feel the heat coming on. Initially it’s important to get away from the moment by taking a walk, breathing deeply to relax, getting some fresh air and giving yourself time to calm down before responding. Some people find it helpful to picture themselves when they are crazily yelling, turning red in the face, sweating or throwing things to remind themselves how ridiculous it looks to others. People won’t really listen to you while you are in this state anyway. Once they’ve physically calmed down, they think about the event or person that caused it to try and understand what could have been done differently. They allow themselves to feel the disappointment, frustration and anger but don’t get stuck in it. Successful people regroup and move forward by looking for a more positive take on things or a list of possible solutions.
For example, a person auditions for a movie role that he really wants to be in. He works hard and practices for weeks and weeks and thinks he has it wired, but another person gets the part. Instead of thinking that he doesn’t have enough talent or that he blew it, he thinks that the practice has improved his skills for the next role he tries out for, or about how grateful he is to have his current job until the next opportunity arises. He doesn’t act like a victim and give up, but reframes the situation to think about how this experience will benefit him in the future in some way. If you feel like this type of response is completely foreign to you and your anger is blocking your success in life, anger management training can help you regain control of the path you are on.