Anger Management Techniques

Anger is a natural human emotion that is felt in response to difficult situations. Many of these situations arise in the workplace where differences of opinion or stress resulting from excessive workloads are common. 

Workplace anger has the potential to harm both the organization and its employees, causing a toxic company culture and serious health issues such as depression, heart disease, insomnia, and severe headaches that cause productivity loss. Therefore, it is important to be able to manage anger when it arises.

How is this achieved? Anger management techniques endeavor to reduce the emotions and associated physiological arousal that occurs in particular situations. The rest of this article will be devoted to explaining some common anger management techniques.

Build an appropriate culture

Positive corporate culture is not just about teams of employees working collaboratively and recognizing achievements. Emotions are inevitable in the workplace, so it is important to acknowledge them when they arise instead of letting them fester.

The best workplace cultures manage anger in the workplace with an approach that is systematic, comprehensive, and continuous. The health and wellness of every employee is considered, with stress and anger management courses offered to high-risk individuals. Companies can also improve their recruitment practices to hire employees with the appropriate personality traits, though this is not always foolproof.

Establish proper disciplinary procedures

Most organizations contain employees who are resistant to change and are not at all influenced by colleagues who set a good example. This is why it is so important to establish proper disciplinary procedures. Like company culture, these procedures should be systematic and comprehensive. But they should also be consistent. That is, each employee should be held accountable for their actions irrespective of rank, title, or seniority.

When employees understand that there are consequences to their emotional outbursts, they are less likely to become angry in the first place. The consistency we mentioned earlier also sends a message to employees that no one is beyond reproach. Training can also be provided to establish or reinforce appropriate standards of conduct within the workplace.

Mindfulness meditation

On a more personal level, an employee can use mindfulness meditation to determine the cause of their anger and detach from it. When we become mindful of our anger, we do not deny, suppress, or avoid it. What’s more, we do not let it control the actions that often cause harm to ourselves or our colleagues.

When we find ourselves in a heightened emotional situation, we first use mindfulness to recognize that anger is occurring. However, we do not fuel the fire with stories about how we are undervalued or have been wronged by others in the past. To prevent the situation escalating, mindfulness calls on us to shift our attention to the body and our immediate surroundings. We can identify parts of the body that are experiencing neutral or even pleasant sensations and repeat the process for the sights and sounds in our environment. When employees devote their attention to these stimuli for a few minutes, they will find that anger-inducing emotions subside. Most will also find themselves better prepared to deal with future situations.

Cultivate empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand what another person is feeling or experiencing and is a critical soft skill that facilitates healthy relationships inside and outside the workplace. 

Empathy helps leaders manage subordinates from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures, experiences, or departments. Those who possess empathy can react to sometimes stressful situations with compassion and do not create conflict by forcing their will on others.

Empathy also protects us from becoming reactive ourselves. When the ire of someone else is directed toward us, we do not take it personally. In many cases, we can recognize that the individual is behaving subconsciously according to deep-seated issues and personality traits based on past experiences.

Key takeaways:

  • Anger management endeavors to reduce the emotions and associated physiological arousal that occurs in particular situations. The practice has important benefits for organizational culture and employee health.
  • Building a positive corporate culture that moves beyond collaboration and achievement is one way to prevent anger from occurring in the workplace. Establishing consistent and non-selective disciplinary measures is another important prevention technique.
  • For individual employees, mindfulness meditation and empathy are two methods that allow them to recognize anger without reacting to it.
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