How to deal with anger in the workplace


Do you get so angry that you lash out and snap at nearly everyone at work? If so, it is wise to remember that the law restricts how you behave at work, so screaming and pulling some hair is probably not a good idea.

There are so many articles addressing what to do when dealing with an angry co-worker. But what happens when you are said angry co-worker?

Out of control anger can hurt your career. As a business professional, you need to be able to handle constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debates in a healthy way. You don’t want to alienate and loose the respect of colleagues, supervisors, or clients while gaining a bad reputation for lashing out.

It is said that admission is the first step to recovery. When it comes to dealing with anger in the work place, realizing that you are angry is a very important step to getting better. Here are a few ways to deal with work place anger.

The first step is to find out the source of your anger. Are you happy with your career? Or are you miserable every time you have to go to work? Take a few hours to a day to think about the real reason you are upset. For all you know, you’re just sleep deprived, hungry, too hot, too cold, or all of the above.

When you have sorted out where your anger is coming from, the next step is to figure out how to address or express it. Keeping your anger bottled up is not always a good idea because eventually it will have to be released (probably in a huge eruption) and your inner Hulk might not look so good at work. It might be a good idea to talk about the situation with someone, preferably a neutral party. Bear in mind, this does not mean you should start office gossip or report a colleague to a supervisor and vice versa, unless the nature of the issue deems it necessary. Those are irresponsible and unprofessional behaviors that will only serve to reinforce your anger by keeping the issue on your mind instead of helping you let go. In other words venting only makes you angrier.

If you choose to address someone about the issue, there are acceptable ways to go about it. Do not become overly emotional because that could alter the way your message is received. It may come across as a confrontation and escalate from there. When speaking with colleagues or superiors, it is good to speak calmly and use language and phrasing similar to what they would use and understand.

The next step is to take care of you. I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed, I treat myself. I go out and have something nice like frozen yogurt, a warm Nutella crepe, or taking a walk and window shopping on Boston’s Newbury Street. You could try the same thing or customize it to your liking. I would suggest eating something you love- in moderate proportions so that you don’t make your day even worse when the guilt comes a knocking.

You could also try listening to some music. Bear in mind that music has different effects on your brain. So carefully choosing the right music to listen to is very important. When you need a little pick-me-up to brighten your day, it is a good idea to listen to some calming music. Play some of your favorite tunes and let the nostalgic effect soothe you. In order to experience the positive psychological effects of music, you should listen to what you deem “good music” at a reasonable volume. Listening to very loud music can disturb your state of mind and lead to aggressive behavior. So try some old school tunes that always put a smile on your face and take you back to the good ol’ days.

A brisk walk around the block might be a good idea. You can do so while listening to some music. This should release pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head. Now, if you are the type of person that loves a good work out and feels rejuvenated after a session, by all means, be my guest. You can wait till the end of the business day, or take the rest of the day off, head to your usual work out spot and get Physical. Be careful not to let your work out reawaken your anger. It should only be a channel to let out the stress.

Lastly, know when to let go. If you can’t come to an agreement with the other party, agree to disagree. You know the saying “it takes two to tango.” Well, it also takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere and the situation cannot be resolved through a calm discussion, you can choose to disengage and move on. Find out your alternatives. Sometimes the best solution is to walk away from the stressful environment be it a person, a department, or a job. Hey, if Craig David can do it, so can you.

Image courtesy of pat138241 /

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About Enitan Ogunkoya

Enny is a marketing enthusiast who is currently completing her master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Emerson College, Boston. She loves to eat, talk, shop, and stay active on social media.

She is looking forward to warmer weather so that she can travel and continue to teach herself photography. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @Ennysweet.

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