Anger Management in the Workplace

Anger Management in the Workplace


So let’s be honest, we have all had our moments at work.  A project completely falls apart when we realize everyone on the team is on a different page…a co-worker gets credit for work that we know we did ourselves…office gossip seems to be out of control…we haven’t had a vacation in over six months and we are about to blow…the list goes on and on.  We want to scream, throw our computer across the room and tell our boss what we really think, but we know we can’t do that.  We find ourselves sitting there, feeling our blood pressure rising while pushing down our feelings in order to survive.

Well if you haven’t already, the time has come for you to find a way to handle your emotions at work.  But here is the tricky thing…we are all different and what works for one of us might not work for others.  So here is a list of suggestions.  See what you think.  Pick a couple that you think may work for you and give them a spin!

*Breathe….breathe….breathe – It’s our natural instinct to open our mouth and immediately react.  But what we really need to do is take a step back and breathe.  Maybe try counting to 10 (or maybe 20) and really think about how you want to react.  This “step back” may give us just the time we need to put things in perspective and help us avoid saying something we might regret.

*Find a trusted person to vent to – the key word here is “trusted”.   Really think about whether or not you want to vent with someone in your workplace.  Maybe it makes more sense to talk with a close friend outside of work, someone that can bring an outside perspective.  But if you decide to vent with someone at work, make sure you find a private place to talk, out of earshot of other co-workers.

*Take a quick mental escape – If your work situation allows it, take a walk or listen to some calming music.  This will provide a short break to distract yourself so that you can focus on something else, even if for just a brief moment.

*Connect with a loved one – Maybe you can sneak in a quick text or call to hear a supportive, familiar voice that will provide you perspective and again, a distraction.

*Pay attention to what makes you angry at work – Take two weeks and make a list of what seems to really make you angry at work.  Then study your list and look for patterns and triggers.  Ken Cloke and Joan Goldsmith, authors of Resolving Conflicts at Work: A Complete Guide for Everyone on the Job, say that managing anger is an important life skill.  So they suggest that you: own your anger, discover the underlying reasons for it, share your feelings, focus on solving the problem rather than blaming others, and ask for help when needed.