Say ‘yes’ out loud if any of these scenarios have ever played out at work –
- You didn’t get the promotion you so richly deserved, instead it went to the boot-licking halfwit
- A client jumps up and down on your work even though you pulled an all-nighter and stuck to their brief like glue
- A co-worker shows up late for a meeting, again…
- You boss micro-manages to within an inch of his or her life and then takes credit for your brilliance
- A pass-agg colleague gently reminds you – for the ninth time this month – that she’s better than you
- You got an email from a colleague, superior or client that made your blood boil and immediately typed out a reply that would almost certainly get you the sack
We’ve all been there, or places so similar it makes no difference.
The point is that we all get angry at work. Some less than others of course, but it would be unbelievable to suggest that no-one reading this has ever got angry at work. We all have.
We know it’s personally unproductive. We know the only person truly affected by it is us. We also know that going to work every day harbouring resentment is detrimental to both personal performance and the organisation.
That notwithstanding, it can cause high blood pressure, high levels of stress and anxiety and it can make you corrosive, negatively affecting relationships at home and at work.
It’s also important to note that anger at work is both cause and effect. If the source of your anger is work, it can (and in most cases does) spill over into your personal life but also, if you have external stresses such as financial problems, health problems or relationship issues, that anger can manifest itself in the workplace.
How To Stop Being Angry At Work
Putting your size nines through the photocopier doesn’t work, nor does secretly eating your co-worker’s lunch and then joining them on the hunt for the culprit, so what can you do to release your pent-up anger and frustration?
Luckily, there are some very easy steps you can take to be less angry at work which in turn will make you more productive, happier and a nicer person to be around…!
See, that was easy. We can all do that. Instinctively we want to snap back. On some level it seems like a waste of energy if we don’t but while it may not remove the cause of the anger, it allows you to buy time. Step back, put the situation into perspective, see the bigger picture and then decide what course of action to take. If there’s a potential you might say something you’ll regret, err on the side of caution and don’t say it.
Write It Down
Never respond when you’re angry. Often it can be cathartic to write down what you’d like to say. Your first draft will advocate maiming swiftly followed by the sack of the person who has displeased you but a second draft will soften the anger. A third will calm the situation down and a fourth will form the basis of how you really feel, minus the initial anger and feelings of aggression.
Go To A Happy Place
When you’re angry, think about the things that make you happy. Put a call in to your wife, husband, mum, dad or significant other and hopefully they will talk you down and remind you what’s really important in your life. Spend a few minutes on your websites of choice looking at holidays, clothes, football transfer rumours or the ‘things I didn’t know last week’ thread on Reddit. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that gives you pleasure
Take a Break
We mean take an actual break, not 10 minutes in the canteen looking at work emails. Most of us get an hour for lunch but when was the last time you actually took an hour? Last year? Never? Go to the park, take off your shoes, sit on the grass and listen to the world happening around you. Go for a walk. A proper walk, not just to Pret and back. However you decide to take a break, do one thing – leave your phone on your desk. Imagine the peace…..
Don’t Take It Personally
However wrongly delivered, people at work who anger you very rarely mean it personally. Remember that everyone has an agenda. Everyone wants to be recognised for their achievements (or those of others) and everyone has different ways of doing it. You don’t know what kind of stressors your co-workers are dealing with so if you have it in you, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking during the week? Are you still eating like a teenager and hoping you can get away with it for another few years before you hit the gym? All these factors can play havoc with your emotions but there’s no secret that the healthier you are, the less stress there is and therefore you are far more likely to respond appropriately to the situation you find yourself in.
Consider Why You’re Angry
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why we get angry at work (see above) but have you also felt yourself getting angry at factors which are out of your control? This is the anger it’s important to let go of. Ask yourself a simple question – ‘can I resolve whatever is causing my anger?’ If you can, deal with it but if it’s something you can’t control, let it go.
Here at Vital Minds, our Advanced Relationship Management workshops are designed to help you to resolve conflict and give you the tools to be happier and more productive in the workplace
We feel better when we’re happier…!
For more information about how to stop being angry at work, contact us today. It may be the best call you make this year…