Dealing with anger in the workplace

Within the working environment, there could exist many triggers that result in you becoming angry.

Some of those triggers include:

  1. Being micromanaged.
  2. Being criticised in public.
  3. Having confidence betrayed.
  4. Being interrupted by people in an open plan office.
  5. Being with some who constantly interrupts you.
  6. Being on time and consistently waiting for latecomers.


Anger is an emotion. Like with all emotions, it starts out with an initial feeling. That feeling in this instance could be irritation. Left on its own, irritation could build up to frustration; frustration leads to annoyance; annoyance turns into impatience; impatience becomes anger and finally anger ends up as uncontrollable rage!

This is why it is so important to control your feelings of anger before it leads to an extreme reaction that often has with it, unintended and undesirable effects.

Ways of reacting to anger:

Method One: Impassive face

  1. Do not react.
  2. The less said the better.
  3. Stay calm and in control.
  4. Observe, listen and remember facts.
  5. Refer to your notes and reply to the facts.
  6. Take down notes, this shows that you are listening.
  7. Think about the event and react later. Later, might be a few hours later or even the next day.

Method 1 is relevant at moments when you have a quick and extreme reaction to an event, person, experience or something that you have just heard.

Most people would tend to react on the spot with dire consequences. The benefit of    an impassive face is that it does not give away your true feelings and essentially you gain some time to:

  1. Think about the situation,
  2. Be angry on your own and
  3. Cool down before formally replying: either in writing or verbally.

Method Two: The patient face

  1. Be in control.
  2. Do not interrupt.
  3. When you speak, choose words carefully.
  4. Ask fact based questions to gain more insights.
  5. Nod your head to show that you are listening.
  6. Take down notes, this shows that you are listening.
  7. Refer to your notes and respond to the facts.

Method 2 becomes relevant in times when you experience anger, but the anger might not be warranted – perhaps because you are making your own assumptions.

By showing that you have a patient face, and are asking relevant questions, you are able decide whether or not your anger is warranted. You are able to hear the other person’s side and receive all the facts.

If you are still angry – the patient face turns into the impassive face. Ask for more time to think the matter through and then follow steps as per above.


Method Three: The funny face

  1. Make fun out of the situation.
  2. Laugh about it to others.
  3. Consider the magnitude of the problem.
  4. Ask yourself – is it worth the energy?

You could use method 3 if someone played a practical joke on you. Instead of getting angry, laugh at the situation. Become interested at how they were able to pull off the joke, as an example. In this example, the more that you can show that you are relaxed about the situation, the more the people will see that you do not have a ‘button’ to push. Most likely they will leave you and move on to the next person!


In conclusion:

One moment of uncontrolled anger can ruin years of built up trust, friendship and professional image.

Use the guidelines contained within this insight to be more in control of your feelings of anger.

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