Anger Management: An Overlooked Skill in Today's Workplace

By Gideon Olukotun | 2 min read
21st November 2018
Anger Management: An Overlooked Skill in Today's Workplace

Anybody can become angry—that is easy," Aristotle once said, "but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way—that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."

For some, it is believed that anger cannot be controlled; it just happens but that is not true. To some others, it is believed that anger is healthy but that is also a lie. Likewise to some others, especially leaders, it is believed that anger is good to gain due respect by dealing with their followers aggressively, and that is also a lie about anger. Respect is earned and not forced. If you intimidate people with your position, you may only get them to work, you won't be able to make them effective on the job.

Anger, if not well managed can be very destructive but on the other hand, if managed, can be very helpful, not just for the leader, but also for the organization.

Anger management, though an overlooked skill in today's workplace, is a term used to describe the skill needed to overturn a negative emotion and dealing with the corresponding situation in a positive way. This does not mean internalizing or suppressing anger.

In fact, anger is a normal human emotion and, when managed properly, can be considered a healthy emotion.  We all feel angry from time to time, yet this feeling can lead us to say or do things that we later regret. This is because anger has the capacity to make us reduce our inhibitions and make us act inappropriately.

As leaders, anger management concerns having a quick recognition of the triggers for anger but expressing these feelings and frustrations in a cool, calm and collected way. However, any time we fail to put a muzzle on an angry reaction, we end up giving our power away by allowing others to be in charge of our emotions at that moment.

As we often develop behavioural attitudes as to how to deal with strong emotions, so likewise anger management is about learning effective coping mechanisms to deal with the problems and frustrations associated with anger.

How do you manage anger as a leader or entrepreneur?

There are quite many anger management techniques that can be learnt and practiced and taught to others. However, here are a few tips that can help you manage anger as a leader:

Be assertive, not aggressive

While excessive anger is not healthy, it also is not uncommon. Many leaders struggle with anger issues. Fear is not a motivator. You will never get people to perform at their best when they are being intimidated. As a leader, you must understand that clear and consistent communication with your employee is a formidable key to success.

Keep the vision/goal in view

When leaders are proactive, oftentimes, their reaction is based on their desired outcome. According to Stephen Covey in his book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", he noted this as the habit of Beginning With the End in Mind. Whatever decision you're about to take in any emotional state and situation, always ask yourself, will this move you to your desired goal?

Be Tolerant

It is a fact that you cannot change the people around you or the events that make you angry. So you need to accept that everybody is different from you. Therefore, try to be very realistic with yourself and with the people you're leading. When they hurt your emotions, wait a while and express yourself carefully knowing that you cannot control people's behavior towards you but you can control your behavior towards them.

Seek professional help

if you, your employee, or someone you know, experiences a constant anger or very strong negative emotion, then seeking help from professionals in the form of a coach, counselor or therapist is another effective tool in anger management.

Leaders who learn to maximize these anger management techniques are proof to show that they value relationships and growth above self and ambitions, and most times, earn in return, loyalty and trust from their followers.

Gideon Olukotun
Gideon Olukotun is a certified Life & Personal Development Coach and NLP Practitioner. He is the Lead Coach at Take The Lead Coaching Consult, an organisation that teaches people to lead through self-discovery and personal development programs and methodologies. He is also a member of the Life Coaches Association of Nigeria.
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