Our Blog

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

  • Image
  • 0

Anger is one of the most common emotions human beings face, especially in the work world. But it is also one of the most misunderstood. Sometimes, it is inappropriately dealt with at work or ignored altogether.

First realize feeling anger is okay. You may be hearing some of those old programming tapes from your childhood that told you anger was bad. If you were punished or ignored for expressing anger, you probably have a difficult time dealing with it now. But, there is nothing wrong with feeling anger. It is an emotion like any other and is not wrong in itself. There are good reasons for feeling anger: injustice, a setback or a tragedy are all possible reasons. The problem can be your response.

Can you think of an instance when you feel okay about expressing anger? If you answered no, consider this: Do you ever have a problem controlling your expression of anger? If you said yes, you probably know that this is a double whammy. You believe it’s wrong to get angry, yet you have a hard time not getting angry! How does that add up? You’ll have major stress. The best way to avoid being upset by this emotion is to decide that it is okay to feel anger. But when is it all right to express it, and how should it be expressed?

There are basically two ways to express anger: outwardly and inwardly. The outward expression may be manifested in rage or “explosions.” The inward expression may show up as resentment and bitterness. The outward expression demonstrates itself directly to the object of the anger, such as yelling at a person or kicking a desk. The inward expression cannot be shown directly to the object of the anger, for whatever reason, so it turns in on the angry person. Both of these responses create an unhealthy state of mind and can result in stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and ulcers.

You need to feel your anger, but neither of the above responses is the best way to express it. There is a constructive way to use anger as a motivating force, and it can be outward or inward. If a co-worker has done something that you specifically asked him not to do—say he has destroyed a project you were both working on—you have a right to be angry. But it won’t help either of you if you go to him and fly into a rage, provoking his defensive anger as well. Neither will it resolve the situation if you don’t say anything and keep your anger inside. Usually, repressed anger builds into full-fledged resentment that damages your ability to work with others. Here’s how to deal with the co-worker who messed up your project: You need to confront the person and let him or her know you are angry. You asked him to perform the task a certain way for a reason, and the fact the project is now in ruins proves your point. He should learn from the mistake he has made and you are the person who can teach him. Open confrontation is a valid approach, provided you are not patronizing. Remember, someday the shoe could be on the other foot, and that person may be confronting you. Your anger could propel you to say something ill considered to your errant co-worker. Instead, try to say something constructive. Let your anger inspire you to say to yourself, “Yes, I have a valid reason to correct this person.” Approach him when you are calm, controlled and rational. Explain the error, the consequences and the solution. Further, explain how you can work together to straighten out the problem. You can help dissipate the tension by remaining calm and in control. This approach practically guarantees good results. You will be able to maintain a good relationship with the co-worker and probably salvage the project too. Both of you will feel better about the incident, and it could even strengthen your working relationship.

Remember three things about anger:

1. It is okay to feel angry – it is your response that counts.

2. Don’t make important decisions while you are angry, as your ability to think rationally is impaired.

3. Don’t make judgments about people while either you or they are angry. Instead, concentrating on how you can
change yourself and your own responses will make anger a lot easier to handle.


This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!