I grew up in a family where we were not allowed to get angry! I know this sounds all very trivial compared to the horrors that confronted others in their childhood but the point is that the strong limitations I had placed on anger as a child have haunted me into my adult working life. Whether you are dealing with difficult colleagues or challenging customers you need to be able to manage and deflect anger, and part of that process is being OK with your own and other people’s anger.
The first step is to understand a little bit about anger. Anger is an emotional state that is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. Typically, when you get angry your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up and so does you levels of adrenaline. Three different ways of managing anger are as expressing, suppressing and defusing.
The most productive method of managing anger is expressing which involves expressing your angry feelings in an assertive and productive manner. The keys to expressing your anger is identifying your angry feelings, understanding why you are feeling angry, expressing your angry feelings in a non aggressive manner and managing your angry feelings.
Suppressing your anger is another technique, and this involves holding onto your angry feelings and converting or redirecting your anger into something more constructive. Typically, people may go for a walk, exercise or throw themselves into a task. Whilst suppressing your anger can be a useful strategy it can lead to other issues if that is the only strategy you use. At some point it is important to be able to talk and express how you feel rather than continually suppressing your feelings.
Defusing your anger is another useful strategy. This approach involves controlling your behaviour and your internal responses and reactions. Some of the techniques for this approach include deep breathing, calming yourself, lowering your heart beat by relaxing, etc. Defusing your anger is ideal when you are confronted by a difficult situation and you need to stay calm.
- Use I statements – I feel angry when I am given extra assignments with competing deadlines and not support and what I would like is more support and resourcing to complete these assignments.
- Validate other’s anger – I can tell you are angry about this…
- Get a positive value out of being angry – Identify why you fell angry and then do something to manage and change your feeling
- Check in with yourself – How am I am feeling?