Anger management is a hot topic today because people often get angry and don’t know how to express and vent their anger in a healthy way. If you have been in a business meeting where someone has blown up or shut down, you know what I mean. It’s very uncomfortable when it happens and leaves most of us pretty unclear as to what to do next.
I want to be careful not to oversimplify anger management in business. At the same time, there are some simple rules or principles that can prepare us for what to do when anger surfaces.
Rule 1: Attack Issues
Attack issues; do not attack people. I have recited that rule many times in sessions with clients, but anger is still almost always directed at one or more persons, not at the underlying issues.
Someone does something (or doesn’t do something) and it makes us angry. Our two most common responses are to verbally attack or to verbally shut down — stop communicating and give them the silent treatment.
Both responses are damaging to team health, so practice this response instead. At the moment you first feel yourself getting angry, say to yourself, “I feel myself getting angry because of what you did or didn’t do. Can we please take a moment to identify and solve the issue behind what you did or didn’t do?” Take the energy you would typically use to fuel your anger and apply it instead to identifying and resolving the underlying issue(s) behind the behavior that provoked your anger.
Rule 2: Own The Issue
The angry parties own the issue. When someone angers us, we expect them to resolve the issue, so we’re not angry anymore. But that’s not the way things generally work. If it’s your anger, you own it and no one else can resolve it. You have three choices: live with it, end it, or change it. You must decide.
One thing is certain. If you don’t resolve it, anger will turn into bitterness and will destroy you and your business. Apply these two rules to convert unhealthy anger to positive energy that attacks and solves issues for the greater good of your business.
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This article was originally posted on the EOS WorldWide Blog on July 25, 2019.