There is no denying that work demands are high and workplaces can sometimes be stressful environments. Evidence suggests that most people find it hard to control anger and resentment, completely unaware of how their behaviour is limiting career opportunities…
Whether we did not receive that expected pay rise or promotion, or just left an unproductive client meeting or a project has gone pear-shaped, stress inducing situations in the work place abound aplenty. Stress often spills over into feelings of anger and frustration, which inevitably is directed at co-workers, managers and customers. Sometimes, personal life angst is not checked at the cloakroom and makes rears its ugly head at an unsuspecting colleague… Dealing with stressful events such as divorce, death, financial issues or serious illness, personal crises and work pressure can make us feel overwhelmed, angry and out of control.
While anger is a normal emotion, the way an employee deals with it and how they express it may become a cause for concern if the employee begins to act out inappropriately. Workplace anger is not only potentially harmful to the organisation, but it can also cause serious health problems, including chronic anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Learning to deal with the anger constructively at work may just help you be considered for that next big promotion. We’ve outlined a few ways you can release frustration without losing your cool –
Speak to someone who can help
Most good companies have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered for free to employees. EAP providers typically allow employees to see a counsellor or a therapist when an employee is feeling angry and is having a difficult time dealing with their feelings.
A company counsellor can teach you effective stress management techniques and help you improve communication skills and uncover the underlying reasons for inappropriately expressed anger.
Write it down
If speaking to a therapist or a counsellor is not an available option for an employee, what most psychologists who specialise in stress and anger management suggest is giving words to your feelings.
Research time and again suggests that writing your feelings down provides an instant emotional release. A word of caution here – it is important that the employee writing his or her feelings down keep their thoughts to themselves and not share with or send an angry email to a co-worker or boss.
An employee who prefers to save as draft an email written in a foul mood saves himself from a lot of embarrassment and later apologies.
Say it in your head before you say it out loud
Taking a moment to pause before responding is a critical skill that helps employees save face and avoid feelings of regret and remorse over things said in a heated moment.
Pausing before speaking can be as simple as taking a washroom or a coffee break or suggesting that everyone takes a break for an hour and return to the issue with clearer heads.
Sometimes leaving the four walls and stepping out into fresh air can give you much needed time and perspective to calm down. Walking away from a tense situation gives everyone a chance to calm down, gather their thoughts and keep their professionalism intact. Once the anger subsides and the emotional intensity of the interaction lowers, everyone is in a better position to think and speak logically.
Acknowledge your anger
Simply acknowledging your anger is instant therapy. Acknowledgement of emotions also re-activates rational thinking, helping us to see the situation from a non-emotional perspective. It also helps in providing in the other party a shift in perspective, enabling them to be gentler and patient in their approach.
Assess the situation from a ‘favourite leader’ perspective
When angry, it is difficult to see things from another angle. With practise it is possible to consider a problematic situation or person from a bird’s eye perspective.
To master this trick, simply ask yourself, “how would my favourite leader handle this situation?” Trying to see a work problem from a mentor or a role model’s perspective, gives an angry moment a much- needed insight and emotional shift.
Active anger management is something that must be practiced. With time and experience, we can all learn to respond positively to tense situations. By staying calm, and working through your feelings in a more consciously measured way, you’ll gain the respect of colleagues and may just work yourself into managerial material…