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Everyone experiences anger at work. The nature of work requires making and following a plan to achieve a specific outcome. Things go wrong no matter how well you plan them and as a manager you must remain calm to remain in control.

How do you react when things go wrong? Do you calmly assess the problem, or do you throw things? Many people throw, or at least desperately want to throw things. It’s natural to get angry. It’s biology and chemistry. Hormonal reactions to modern day fight or flight. It feels cathartic to get violent when angry.

The problem with anger, no matter how justified, is it’s almost always counterproductive. Self-control wins the day. Whatever makes you angry usually becomes much worse when you lose control. But how can you maintain self-control when something or somebody ruins your project. Consider a few tips on how to stay calm when confronted with tense situations.

Count to ten. It’s a cliché, and like most clichés it rubs up against the truth. Taking a deep breath is another way of expressing the same idea. Waiting for a few beats before you react stops you from saying or doing something you might regret. Take a few moments to gain proper perspective.

Many experts say that dealing with anger is as easy as writing it out. This writing is only for you. You don’t want to write anything to anyone else while you are angry. Writing it out gets it out. Somehow you feel better after venting on paper. It’s a good idea once you’re done to shred the paper, just in case.

If writing is not your thing, talk to someone. If you choose a co-worker, be sure this is a person you can trust. The best idea is to take the venting session off company property, perhaps a coffee shop or restaurant.

Another effective method of calming yourself is to think about how one of your past leaders would handle the situation. Perhaps a respected mentor or teacher who demonstrated leadership qualities you would like to mimic. How did they manage to stay calm and reasonable when tense?

A few simple tips to calm yourself after becoming angry is one thing, but how can you get pre-emptive on your anger. Develop a plan to recognize your triggers. Find and practice techniques that help you relax.

Recognise that you can be assertive without being aggressive. Anger is a force that usually leaves a swath of destruction in its wake. Stay calm, stay rational.

Anger in the right amounts at the right time is useful. The problem is walking the fine line between harnessing and controlling the right dose and losing complete control as rage take over.

Effective leaders set an example. Subordinates look to you to set the tone. Everyone gets angry but staying calm and reasonable ensures a safe productive workplace for all.

 

Written by Ross Fastuca @Locomote 

 

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