Anger at Work – What can you do about it?

In my last post, I shared the results of anger at work and promised to give you some ideas to overcome the emotion of anger in this post.

Here are some tips for turning anger into a productive tool of leadership:

  • When you feel anger arising in you, listen to what it is telling you. Feel the emotion. Experience what the emotion feels like in your body. Ask yourself what this is signaling. What is the offense? Don’t dismiss it. Consider appropriate action.
  • Plan to address the situation. Distinguish between clean anger and damaging anger. Clean anger is communicated directly with no intent to damage or harm another. It is honest and direct. Damaging anger is when emotions are out of control, as in yelling, name calling and blaming. It can also damage when it is expressed “passive aggressively” – i.e.: ignoring someone, not returning their phone calls, degrading them to others.
    A useful format to express clean anger goes like this:
    When you do , I feel /or here is how it affects me: .
    Example: “When you arrive late to meetings I feel angry and frustrated. It also reduces the effectiveness of our team meetings. It interrupts the flow of the team’s time together and we waste time catching you up. I need to know if you are willing to change to be on time in the future.”
  • Make an Anger List using the three questions below to determine your ability to confront anger in your life. Scan through your list and see how directly you are communicating. Do you see patterns of avoidance? Are you stewing over some incident? Pick one or two items you will address.
    1. Who Am I Angry With?
    2. What Happened?
    3. What Was Communicated?

I hope you found my posts on anger at work helpful. Please use these ideas and feel free to share proven techniques of your own with our readers by using the comments feature on this blog.

NOTE: These three posts were adapted from a longer article I wrote in May 2008. If you would like a copy of the original “Anger at Work” article, please go to

1 comment:

Shirley Fine Lee said...

You may also want to read the article from ”16 Ways to Manage Your Anger" at,21863,1779636,00.html?xid=yshihapp2 . It is about 6 different anger styles and how to turn your attitude around.