"I've had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing." - Buddy Hackett We all get angry. It's normal.
The real question is WHY we get angry. As I tell my clients, to be happy, we need to have a certain amount of control in our lives. Not totally, but we have to have a handle on many situations to ensure that we don't go quietly insane.
Unfortunately, things do go a little out of kilter. And our natural response is to get frustrated. That's normal — something is knocking us out of our normal routine or belief structure and our body/mind reacts with frustration.
A typical example are KIDS. If you come home and the family room is a mess, you are immediately out of control (a clean room) and you react with frustration. A lot of parents (me included) might move right into anger and yell at the kids to clean up the room.
The same thing happens at work. A client, a vendor, a team member or your boss capriciously changes the project, agreement, or decision and promptly you are out of control, accelerating into frustration-land and anger is right around the corner.
How do you solve this? When you feel control ebbing away and you start to feel frustration, stop for a second and embrace the feeling. Don't zip right into anger — try to leverage the part of your brain that solves problems.
What you've really been thrown is a problem. Work is made up of problems. Your job is to solve these problems. This is just one more problem you need to solve. Take the emotion, your ego, out of the equation. Recognize it for what it really is, a problem that needs a solution.
Because the minute you get angry, you really lose control and it takes you farther away from getting back in control. Take your kids — you can yell at them — your blood pressure rises, they are scared/resentful, there is acrimony in the air, etc.
If you pull back and start directing them to clean up assertively (no anger), you'll find dutiful helpers who actually clean the room - no acrimony, no high-blood pressure.
Focus on getting back into control at work — solve the problem. Here's an added benefit — people notice when you don't get angry or fly off the handle. They pay attention when you are composed in chaos and deliver alternative solutions to solve the problem.
That's the difference between good and great leaders.
What techniques do you use to get back into control?