Resetting Emotional Reactions: 3 ways to Mitigate Anger.
Self-regulation is easy to talk about yet at times, not so easy to do. We asked a few leaders how they get their emotions in check when they find themselves in a reactionary state. Here are their strategies for mitigating anger at work.
Phone a Friend
Marcy: I’m fortunate to have two very good friends who work for different companies that I can completely be myself with. They have a similar level of responsibility in their jobs, so they really get the ramifications of letting my anger bleed through while trying to handle a difficult situation. When I find myself so clouded with anger or frustration, I call one of my friends. They both know to allow me a little download time in the beginning. You know, just to get it all off my chest. Eventually, I rein it in and get serious about my next move. And I almost always find that once I hear myself talking with a lot of anger, it becomes apparent that it will only create more problems if I don’t get past it. The download is really my turning point. After that, I can begin to think through things with a clearer head that’s focused on moving things forward versus being right or putting someone in their place.
Write the Email You’ll Never Send
Benjamin: When I’m angry, I sit down at my computer and write the email I’d LIKE to send, but never do. I let it all hang out and blast my anger into the keyboard. I spare nothing and no one in that email. Once I do that, I’m able to walk away from it for a while. Ideally, I like to sleep on it for a night. But sometimes I may only have an hour or less before something needs to be done. Once I get a little time and cool down a bit, I go back to the email and I begin by extracting only the facts from my ranting email and delete the rest. I then go back and organize my thoughts minus the emotion. This prepares me to write an email or have a conversation that presents the facts without emotion or reaction. Two suggestions: 1) If it’s a very volatile situation, I always have a trusted person read the email I’m going to send over before sending it. Just getting other eyes on it will ensure negative tone is out of the correspondence. 2) To avoid misfires, don’t ever enter an email address to the recipient when writing the email you’ll never send. You never want to learn this one the hard way.
Take a Hike
Shelly: Nothing clears my head better than a 5 minute, brisk walk. I’m lucky to work at a place with a great campus with walking trails and I take full advantage of them, especially when I’m angry. A few minutes of sunshine and birds singing can put me in a completely different frame of mind. Just taking my mind out of the situation and environment for 5 or 10 minutes allows me the space to reframe my thinking and to cool down once I come back to the office. I make a point of not thinking about the situation that has me mad at all while I’m on my 5 minute hiatus. I’m certain I have saved my reputation, my credibility as a leader and probably my job a couple of times by taking these walks. They are so valuable to me that I no longer struggle with getting up from my desk and taking those few minutes outside to chill out. I can’t afford not to!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Internship Group
A true pioneer in the field of professional coaching and Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation with over 25 years experience coaching organizational leaders at all levels. Amy has worked closely with many organizations on implementing coaching initiatives and has developed highly acclaimed coaching programs for several universities, organizations and private training institutions.
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