How Great Leaders Express Anger

Great-Leaders-Express-Anger-EffectivelyHow do the best leaders manage anger? Maybe a better question is, how do great leaders express anger in an effective way?

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. Leaders who are prone to anger can be the most destructive: each year, millions of employees unable to endure their leader’s anger either disengage from their jobs or leave entirely.

The most powerful step in managing anger is admitting that there is a problem. Only an acknowledgement of the issue’s seriousness and its detrimental effects will give you the motivation and determination to work through it. Part of the self-honesty is to avoid blaming others. No one has the power to make you angry. It’s a choice you make. No other people, objects or circumstances are responsible.

When I discuss this with my coaching clients, I suggest they explore what happened/happens when they become angry (sequence), and to honestly ask themselves what role they had in the situation. For example, did the incident originate with your behavior or words? The trigger for your anger may originate with your actions, but all you can see is the actions of others.

Looking at the threats themselves can provide insight. Evaluate why you feel threatened enough to express anger. Think through the circumstances and apply reasoning. You will likely conclude that the threats aren’t severe enough to warrant an angry response. In the grand scheme of things, what upsets you is probably relatively minor in nature. Looking through this relative lens may offer a more stable perspective. What could be the worst outcome? Mentally preparing for it takes the edge off when difficulty strikes. These steps help you shake off more issues and recover on a higher road.

When you consider the things you find annoying and anger-inducing, are they that unusual or are they fairly typical occurrences? Lines at checkouts grow all the time. Traffic jams are a part of life. Expect them and don’t let them get to you. The world is full of difficulties. Lowering your expectations of a hassle-free life will allow you to handle the frustrations and disappointments with less tension. A greater sense of peace diminishes the tendency for anger.

If the threats warrant action, practice expressing your feelings in a way others find acceptable. A trusted colleague, mentor or coach can help. An effective discussion will help resolve concerns for all parties.

These are the steps you can take to adjust to setbacks, measure your responses, consider others and express your anger. As a leader, you owe your people the best work environment possible.

What do you think? How do you express anger? You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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