It’s not uncommon to hear or read of workplace instances where talented employees “lose it!” Workplace anger has been on the rise recently with variances of behavior from throwing the copier out the 5th story window to yelling at the security guard when the office key card does not work. When anger turns violent, you may find yourself with legal action and/or complete employment termination. At a minimum, anger can injure the feelings of colleagues, even permanently damage long-term relationships. Uncontrolled anger can also make employees less productive by causing stress leading to illness and retreated absenteeism. In a Harvard study, both genders that invested a good deal of time in the anger state, resulted in six times more heart attacks annually.
What’s the difference between anger and resentment? Resentment is very close to anger except that anger is publicly demonstrated. Resentment is hidden, maintained as a private conversation internally by an individual or an entire functional group. Resentment grows silently, developing a culture all its own, because the involved groups can be in an unequal power position. Resentment often grows under conditions of the uneven distribution of power, the micro-managing director or VP. If the groups were to complain, they would essentially “pay the consequences.”
Anger is a reactive emotion; and, is the psychophysiological response to distress, a perceived threat, acts of hostility, injustice, or verbal abuse. According to anger studies from 1991, corporate executives often used anger as an effective manipulation strategy to change employee attitudes; and, reach specific company goals.
After coming through a year of COVID, many are experiencing anger. There are many strategies for dealing with anger to restructure how you respond to difficult situations, especially in the work environment. Remember that getting angry is not going to fix anything; and, it can actually make you feel worse over the resulting consequences. Try some of these strategies:
• Logic defeats anger. Anger, even when it’s justified, can quickly become irrational. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. Instead of telling yourself, “oh, it’s awful, it’s terrible, everything’s ruined,” tell yourself, “it’s frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world.”
• Examine your options over the rough spots. Often we have a finite worldview and do not look at alternatives for short & long-term resolution. Remind yourself that the world is “not out to get you.”
• Avoid ‘demanding’ anything, fairness, appreciation, or instant agreement from others. Use requests or state desires to attain collaboration & the willingness of others to cooperate with you.