Friday, November 30, 2007

Anger Management Lessons

It could be a reaction to incompetence, unfairness, and work overload. It could
be from a thousand daily cuts that bleed your enthusiasm for your job. It could
be one major incident — a layoff, a demotion or someone else’s promotion.
So you blow your top at work.

Wrath is one of the original seven deadly sins — but in today’s workplace, displaying anger is just not acceptable.
Being tagged as a screamer used to be a sign of macho, a signal that you were demanding better performance. Sadly, it worked. Who wants to bring up a controversial work issue with a colleague who has a reputation for exploding? That has radically changed. One of the key requirements for management candidates these days is an ability to stay calm and focused even in the most tumultuous circumstances. Anyone still yelling over daily work issues is considered a liability.

“More and more companies are recognizing how an angry person negatively affects their workplace,” said W Barry Nixon, executive director of the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence, USA. Studies show that people get angry once or twice a week on average, with men getting more intensely angry and women staying angry longer, according to W Doyle Gentry, author of Anger Management for Dummies.
And contrary to stereotypes, younger workers display more anger than older ones, because people have better control over their emotions as they age.

Know when to rein it in.If you don’t know quite why you are angry, you cannot get rid of the anger. And if work is making you angry, the situation is going to get worse, not better,
unless you take action. You need to uproot the sources of your anger, disable those triggers and then practice new patterns of behaviour that do not include exploding at others.
“How we deal with anger is a learned behaviour — it is not innate. Sometimes we need to ‘unlearn,’” Nixon said, adding, “If an individual has challenges, they ne-ed one-on-one coaching.”
You also need to beware of “righteous anger” — you may be right on a certain topic, but the effects of your outburst will linger long after everyone has forgotten the issue itself.


When you’re the target
Anger comes out in all different ways, including verbal abuse, bullying, sabotage and physical violence, all of which can affect your ability to do your job. Retaliation from you is only going to escalate the problem. Your company has a legal obligation to prevent a hostile workplace, so if going to your supervisor about a colleague’s anger doesn’t solve anything, go to your human resources department. “In a company that listens to employees and takes their concerns seriously, HR is the place to go to,” Nixon said.

know your anger:
• Sometimes anger is tied to a specific time — Monday morning, Thursday afternoon, tax season, back-to-school season. This is your subconscious at work — listen to it!
• Monday morning anger: You find no pleasure at work. Time to look for another job, another company or even another industry. Note: This is anger, not ordinary Monday-morning moodiness.
• Thursday afternoon anger: You dislike one major part of your job, which boils over at a certain time every week. Maybe there are ways this task can be done more efficiently, maybe it’s an impossible task to begin
with — or maybe someone else could do it, possibly better than you.
• Tax season, back-to-school time: You like your job but dislike its heavy-pressure moments. You cannot eliminate all of the last-minute stress, but more intensive preparations could make the time go smoother. — Agencies

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