By Sherif Attar
In a world of ever-changing ambiguity and uncertainty, executives have to face two challenges: excellent performance and people development. Where many managers think those endeavours are “competing”, this author believes they are “completing”. GET DOWN TO BUSINESS argues.
In this part, we show how to do it!
When you’re angry, use Redford Williams’ 12 steps to calm down:
Step 1: Maintain a “Hostility Log”
Monitor what triggers your anger and the frequency of your anger responses. When you know what makes you angry, you will be in a better position to develop strategies to contain or channel it.
Step 2: Acknowledge you have a problem managing anger!
You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. So, identify and accept that anger is a roadblock to your success.
Step 3: Use your support network
Let the important people in your life know about the changes you are trying to make. They can be a source of motivation and their support will help you.
Step 4: Interrupt the anger cycle
• Take deep breaths
• Tell yourself you can handle the situation
• Stop the negative thoughts
Step 5: Use empathy
If another person is the source of your anger, try to see the situation from their perspective. Be objective and realise everyone makes mistakes.
Step 6: Laugh at yourself!
Humor is often the best medicine. Do not take everything so seriously.
Next time you feel tempted to kick the photocopier, think about how silly you would look and see the humour in your inappropriate expressions of anger.
Step 7: Relax
If you learn to calm down you will have fewer angry episodes.
Step 8: Build trust
If you can build trust in people, you will be less likely to become angry with them when something goes wrong and more likely to attribute the problem to something other than a malicious intent.
Step 9: Listen
The better you listen to what a person is saying, the better able you will be to find a resolution that does not involve anger.
Step 10: Be assertive
When you are angry, it is difficult to express yourself. You are too caught up in the negative emotion and your physiological symptoms (beating heart, red face) to put together solid arguments. Learn to assert yourself and let others know your expectations and boundaries and you will have more interpersonal success.
Step 11: Live each day as if it is your last!
Life is short and it is better spent positively than negatively. Realise that if you spend all your time getting angry, you will miss out on the many joys and surprises.
Step 12: Forgive
Forgive the people in your life that have angered you. It is not easy letting go of past hurts but the only way to move past your anger is to let go of these feelings and start fresh.
These 12 steps form a comprehensive plan to get control of inappropriate and unproductive anger. The quicker you begin, the better you will be. Anger and stress are highly correlated and the effects of stress on the body are well documented. Many of the techniques presented here are used in stress management as well.
Even if you are not at the point where you feel your anger is a problem, it is a wise idea to familiarise yourself with the processes listed. If you do not have the tools to deal with anger correctly, it has a way of building-up over time. Before you know it, you can be in a position where anger is controlling you and becoming a negative influence in your life. Being proactive with anger management will help to ensure it remains a healthy emotion that protects you from unnecessary hurt or threat.
(adapted from Mind Tools)
For questions or suggestions, please send your comments.
Sherif Attar, an independent management consultant/trainer and organisation development authority, delivers seminars in the US, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.