Personal Development Discussion: “How to Manage Anger In the Workplace”

Each Monday, the Martin Sunday Lighting Design team has a team meeting, though we begin these meetings a little bit different than the average company team meeting. We start with a group Meditation session lead by one of our team leaders, we “Check In” with each other, then we’re led in a Personal Development Teaching Piece where a designated team member teaches the team something new that they’ve benefitted from either in their personal or professional life. You can learn more about this by reading What Sets Our Team Apart.

This week, it was Martin’s turn to lead the Personal Development Teaching Piece and he chose an article found from‘s Career Guide titled How to Manage Anger In the Workplace. Feel free to take a moment to read over this article before diving into our discussion below.

Team Discussion

After reading the beginning sections of the article (What are the benefits of controlling your anger at work?), Martin chimed in and stated, “The deal is, most companies try to live under a policy where they can have no anger in the workplace. And that doesn’t work because we all have anger in the workplace on occasion. So it’s not about labeling anger as a bad thing and pretending it isn’t there, but instead it’s important to learn how to effectively manage our anger in order to maintain a harmonious work environment.”

So, what are the benefits of learning to control and manage our anger in the workplace?

Learning to control your anger will….

  • Help you communicate your needs and find better ways to address them
  • Improve your relationships with coworkers and clients
  • Reduce any stress and other negative emotions
  • Eliminate any feelings and symptoms associated with anger
  • Reduce distractions at work and allow you to focus on your tasks better
  • Improve individual productivity and performance
  • Prevent passive aggressiveness from occurring
  • Help avoid unhealthy escapes or addictive patterns
  • Build empathy among coworkers

The above tips were obtained from Indeed’s article, How to Manage Anger In the Workplace.

Martin added to this list by mentioning that “suppressed and stuffed anger can actually make you sick and cause health problems down the road“.

He then went on to give a great example to help the team fully visualize and understand how anger not only affects the person feeling angry, but how angry energy can also spread to other individuals who aren’t involved. He asked the team, “Have you ever walked into a store where you can feel the negative energy and the passive-aggressiveness between the people working there? You can just tell by walking in that no one is happy and that no one is ready to provide customer service or help you out. When you walk into an environment such as this, does it make you want to buy more?

We all collectively agreed that the answer to his question is “no, we do not want to buy more. We actually want to get in and out as quickly as possible!

With that, our next question is, how can we keep our anger from projecting onto others? Especially in the workplace…

How to manage your feelings when you get angry at work

The Indeed article lists 8 different techniques for managing your anger within the workplace. Our team took the time to discuss each of them further and I’ll share a few of our thoughts below, but be sure to read Indeed’s article for yourself to fully grasp each concept.

After reading over 1. Acknowledge your anger, Martin added, “If you trip into defensiveness really quickly, it’s not going to help the situation. Getting defensive about your anger means that you’re really just focusing on the problem and you’re not getting into the solution. The solution is to look at your anger, acknowledge it for what it is, talk about it if needed and find a way to prevent the same conflict from arising again.”

Stathis added onto Martin’s words by stating, “When you do this, you’re real-time-processing your anger and you’re actually just shortening the timespan of feeling angry about whatever conflict or situation you are angry about. So if you’re angry and you don’t process it now, it’s going to take at least a day to be able to work through it later. The longer you hold onto it, the more it can fester which means it will take even longer to be able to move past it.

6. Discuss your anger with the parties involved. Within this tip, Indeed states, “consider including a third party to help mediate during the meeting“, to which Martin fully agreed. At this time, Martin informed the team about a conflict resolution process that The ManKind Project teaches called a “Clearing”. Martin went on to say that “this clearing process is really helpful because it allows you to figure out where your own misbelief within a conflict is and what things you need to work on within yourself that is causing these feelings to arise.”

Of course, my curiosity instantly arose so I asked, “what’s this clearing process?” Martin went on to explain the following (which you can find on pages 60-64 in The ManKind Project Group Manual):

This is a conversation to be had between the two individuals within the conflict along with a facilitator to mediate the clearing. Begin by assessing the Data from the conflict. What are the facts? What actually happened? Then move into assessing the Feelings that arose when the conflict occurred. What feelings does this situation bring up in you? (You may also begin by assessing the Feelings before assessing the Data if that is more comfortable for you). Then you’ll move into assessing any Judgements you may have about the other person involved in the conflict. What is the story that you tell yourself about this person? Whose actions or behavior does this remind you of? Is there some of that energy attached to this person or this situation? Then you’ll move into Healing. Now that you see all of this more clearly, what do you need for yourself? What do you want for your relationship with this person moving forward?

While I really love this Clearing Process that The ManKind Project has created, I personally have found that not all conflicts can allow for a productive conversation as the other party might not be willing to listen to understand. I also prefer to write everything out before speaking to someone that I’m in conflict with so that I can clear my head and not accidentally project my anger onto them. With that being said, I’ve created a Clearing Process Form & Guide that walks you through our version of The Clearing Process that you can do on your own, whether or not you plan to sit down and have a conversation with the person you are in conflict with.

You can download a free copy of the Clearing Process Form & Guide that will walk you through your thoughts in an organized, step-by-step process. When you begin using this form, you may feel hurt, upset, lost or confused, but by the end you will have been guided through deep thinking that will allow you to decide what needs to occur in order for you to healthily move forward with your life.

Each Team Member’s Personal Thoughts On This Teaching Piece

We’ll end our discussion today by taking a moment to share each team member’s personal thoughts on this teaching piece; what it meant to them, what they took away from it or how they plan to utilize the information moving forward. You can learn more about each team member by visiting our Meet the Team page.

Bailey Reber

These are some valuable tips that I plan to add and incorporate when handling my anger both in and out of the workplace. I’ve been doing my own work with anger for years now and while some of the tips in this article are things that I’m already implementing, others were new and can equally be beneficial. One of my favorite ways to release anger is to write out all that I’m feeling in that moment in order to remove those thoughts and emotions from my mind and body. I’ll sometimes even go as far as burning the paper that I wrote on for a greater sense of release.

Katelyn Moore

It was good for me to learn and understand how we should be reacting to certain situations and how we can prevent projecting our anger onto others. My ways of dealing with anger are to get some space before I can overreact. I also agree with the statement, “focus on being happy”, because it is all about perspective and mindsets. When you’re not happy, you tend to be triggered and can become angered more easily.

Martin Sunday

It’s best not to stuff down anger as it will come out sideways. If it’s above a 2 on a scale from 1-5, then it’s probably triggering something that occurred in your past. “Recognition is the ignition to awakening.”

Stathis Kafoglis

The phrase “recognition is the ignition to awakening” really stuck with me. Understanding and identifying what triggers I may have allows me to move forward rather than continue to be held up.

Tiarra Whitaker

The lessons from this teaching can be used for both inside and outside of the workplace. Learning how to manage anger in any situation is beneficial for a healthier and happier life. Releasing anger that stems from any given situation is beneficial to both being content with a situation as well as being able to move on without carrying over any tension. This was definitely a valuable life lesson that I appreciated.

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Hungry for more? Be sure to check out What Sets Our Team Apart to learn more about why we do what we do and why our team values personal development teachings.

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