What to do with Anger

Motivation can be defined as an emotional state that precedes action. But what if the action is a highly negative and dis-empowering one? I’ve often spoken of the elements which can be used to enhance motivation. However, sometimes we all need some different tools to get rid of de-motivating elements.

Let’s look at anger. Anger is bad for your blood pressure and whole state of mind-body. After an angry bout, it make take hours to calm down , as well as releasing the awful tension in many parts of our body. And yes, haven’t we all been, at one time or the other, motivated by anger to kick the daylights of someone over an argument?

A week ago, I encountered a rare character: an extremely belligerent, loud and unreasonable car park security officer. A retiree, he had probably lost the ability to distinguish the difference from the importance of his job and a sense of self importance. By confronting me in an aggressive manner and making physical contact in a way that could only precede some retaliation from my part, it was an incredible challenge to keep my fists to myself.

There are two methods that can be used to neutralise such emotions, the first being an immediate frame of being i.e. that in-the-moment feeling; and the second, a deeper tapping of personal strengths or resources.

1) A realisation that I was angry. By realising my state of anger, I immediately became more detached. Almost subconsciously, I became more aware of my heart rate, muscle tension and frame of mind. Only through this detachment could I begin to scale the feeling of anger down. I quickly moved to doing this by using open hand gestures ( instead of high tension clenched fists ). I also raised my voice but without creating aggressive verbal content. It is important, I feel, to express anger, but not so that the content of your language and actions becomes physically or verbally destructive

2) A realisation of self and the need to lead oneself. About two years ago, I wrote about Self Identity and Self-Leadership. It’s worth a re-visit. My reminding myself of my identity, I immediately recoiled from the idea of giving the irksome man a whack in the face. So a deeper resource like this should be accessed if the level of anger is significant

The third stage, which can be acquired after the event, is acquiring a separate, motivating state. This is critical in allowing the experience to dissipate quickly and to be able to regain a sense of balance.

All leadership begins with us, as individuals. Dis-empowering states such as anger can be nullified through specific processes and skills. Once we succeed consistently with ourselves, we can apply these tools to coach our own staff and associates in similar vein; or manage them more effectively in times of anger.

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