If you’re human, you’re going to get angry at times. The question is, what do you do about it? Do you explode? Or do you communicate clearly? Here are four tips to help you effectively handle your anger.
Own your anger: If you feel guilty for being angry, you will try to hide it and it will come out in passive-aggressive ways. If you tell yourself that “It’s not a big deal, I’m just over-reacting,” when you’re really not, your anger will work against you instead of for you. Own how you feel and know you have a right to feel that way.
Example: “I’m angry because my friend cancelled our weekend plans again without notice. I have a right to be angry when I am taken for granted.”
Translate your anger into action: Anger is an emotion that can be a catalyst for you to take action. Your anger is telling you that something isn’t “right” and that you need to do something about it.
Example: If you’re angry over a co-worker’s behavior, your anger is telling you it’s time to set boundaries. Talk to the person involved and be clear about what you want and need in the future: “Bob, I expect you to talk to me first when you have a problem with me.”
Maintain perspective: You can’t make your anger work for you if you get angry over everything or if you blow things out of proportion. You won’t think clearly and you’re more likely to make a rash decision about what to do with your anger. Maintain your perspective so you can deal effectively with what’s at hand.
Example: I am angry my co-worker didn’t tell me ahead of time she would be late getting the information I need from her. However, overall, she’s a good team member and I will keep that in mind when I talk with her about this situation.”
Learn from your anger: It can give you insight into your core values and help you recognize what is most important to you, so you can make career decisions accordingly. That’s where listening to your anger comes in.
Example: Do you easily get angry when you see someone treated unfairly? What about when you see someone slacking off at work or ignoring their responsibilities around the house? If you get angry at someone slacking off at work, that’s a clue that you have a strong work ethic. If you are easily angered when someone is being treated unfairly, that might suggest that empathy is important to you.
How could you make your anger work for you in these situations? Share your thoughts with a supportive friend who may have some feedback.
A friend often arrives later than the time you have agreed upon.
Your boss changes her priorities without informing you and then blames you for not delivering what she wants.
A family member is taking you for granted.
A co-worker is not turning in quality work and that is affecting your work.
A co-worker is taking credit for your ideas and you fail to get the recognition you deserve.