Anger is an emotion related to how you think about having been wronged, offended or denied something, with a tendency to react though retaliation. It’s this tendency to react in retaliation which gets us into trouble, especially among team members. Is it more important to be correct or is it more important to be unified? How we express and receive anger is important to our success as a leader, spouse, parent, and the list of roles goes on and on.
This emotion affects every aspect of our lives at work and at home. Recently, an owner client and his service manager asked for a conference call about a problem they are having with an employee. As I listened it was simply two things. The owner has not established boundaries about behavior that is not allowed and the employee does not know how to express his anger. So as I write this article I am waiting to go online to have this talk about properly expressing anger with all three of them. It will be a painful but necessary meeting. We owe others love but love without truth is emptiness.
Express your anger assertively by admitting that you feel it. This is being honest with yourself and others. Anger is not right or wrong, it’s an emotion. It can lead to wrong behavior if it’s not responded to properly. I get angry. When I do get angry I admit that it is mine and that I own it and I pledge to myself that I will express it in a respectful and responsible way.
Get rid of all should statements and replace it with “It’s not pleasing to me when you do ‘X’.” Or “It would be good if you did ‘Y'” or “It would be nice if you did ‘Z’.” Should statements are your own standard about what is proper. It brings in your personal beliefs about how things should be done. Most of the time others don’t usually play by your own rules of dos and don’ts.
When you think differently about letting go of your own shoulds and shouldn’ts when speaking, it can lead to discovering different feelings hiding deeper under your anger-like disappointment. Also releasing the should statements relieves pressure by releasing responsibility to make the situation work, gain control or make it right.
Be brief, concise, firm, don’t ramble. Example, “I don’t like it when…”, “It’s not pleasing to me when…”. Speak only about your own thoughts and feeling and do not judge the other person. Only state how you feel about what you see, hear, feel, taste or smell and how this is not pleasing to you.
Avoid labeling, name calling and sarcasm. Stay in the present and only focus on the one issue. If there are other issues set another time to talk through that one. Respect the other person’s point of view even when you do not agree with it. We all have the right to be the person that we are. Give the other person a chance to respond and listen to their point of view.
Anger is like a yellow light. Slow down and take a deep look at why you are angry. Probably there is something deeper hidden, like disappointment. Resist over responding in aggression and avoid under responding with passivity because the repressed anger will come out in sarcasm or triangulation.