Handling anger at work isn’t always easily claimed. When an emotion is labeled as someone else’s fault, trouble is bound to follow. But applying etiquette-ful behaviors to a tense situation can bring comfort, a sense of competence, and calm to you and others viewing the situation.
Here’s a funny quote I saw recently: “I don’t need anger management – I need people to stop making me mad!” Whether your workplace is relaxed or stressful, unless you work all by yourself, disagreements will arise. The escalation of an angry situation is just around the corner unless one or all people involved immediately jump in and de-escalate.
Ultimately, the responsibility for managing your anger is your own. Even if the words or actions of someone you work with lit the flame of your emotions, how you react is your decision and will determine if the flame is extinguished or set ablaze.
In angry situations, finding connectedness is vital. Etiquette plays a direct role in determining the outcome of your attempts to connect with someone who is having a hard time handling anger at work.
Five outwardly etiquette-ful actions to help others connect with you:
Five inwardly etiquette-ful actions that help others connect with you:
If you ever find yourself angry at work, here are a few self-care tips to help in the moment until the feeling subsides.
If you know you are prone to angry moments, think ahead of time of a few strategies for yourself. Write them down on a notecard. It matters only that they are written somewhere you can access them easily.
Self-talk during and after experiencing anger or a tense moment can be helpful. We give ourselves pep talks before important moments, why not do the same for angry moments? Reminders to yourself such as “you are the only one who can make you look bad” can help rein in a particularly negative reaction.
This statement also reminds you of your responsibility for your own self-presentation. If someone else is trying to make you look bad, you can more easily thwart their efforts by keeping a cool head. In fact, the tables might turn.
Handling anger at work, or anywhere else, is best done when you can think clearly to get to the root of what is really happening. Let your curiosity overrule your reactions.