Being a leader is no easy task. Sure, leaders hold a lot of power over their team and subordinates, but the job also comes with plenty of responsibilities and pressure. More often than not, all that pressure can be tough to handle and can eventually lead to an angry outburst. How leaders manage their anger at such times greatly contributes to their performance.
Anger and the accompanying stress makes it hard for a leader to stay focused on their tasks and goals as they are simply too caught up with their emotions. As they lose focus, they also lose the ability to process new information, evaluate, and make the best decisions. Besides all the other negative consequences, this can seriously bring down a leader’s performance.
Why It’s Important for Leaders to Manage their Anger?
It is normal to face anger issues while managing a leadership role as you can get emotionally invested in the business progress and your team’s performance. If you perceive a threat, it can automatically elicit an angry response. However, if you do not learn how to control your anger as a leader, it can affect more than just your performance.
Displaying outbursts of anger in the workplace can hurt their reputation in front of their subordinates, colleagues, and their bosses as well. A one-time event might just create a bit of drama and gossip. However, if you constantly struggle to control your anger as a leader, it can have you pegged as a volatile, hot-headed leader.
All this can create an air of animosity at work where your team might be scared of approaching you. They might even be pushed to leave their job. As a result, the overall business suffers and damages your credibility as a good leader.
Tips for Leaders to Control their Anger in the Workplace
Anger is not entirely a negative emotion. If managed and expressed correctly, it certainly has its benefits as well. But, it all depends on how competent leaders deal with anger.
Here are a few ways to manage anger as a leader:
- Own Your Anger
- Evaluate Why You Are Angry
- Take a Break
- Avoid Assumptions
- Work on Emotional Intelligence
- Invest Time on Self Care
- Use Humor
- Go for a Quick Workout
- Avoid Triggers
- Enroll in Anger Management Classes
1 – Own Your Anger
First and foremost, you need to own your anger. Competent leaders know that they must recognize and accept their anger to then learn to control and express it in a constructive manner. Don’t deny that you are angry or try to put the blame on others. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to say that someone or something is making you angry.
In reality, ignoring your true emotions or simply sitting on them can actually turn into physical problems. Therefore, accept that you are feeling angry, without blaming others or yourself, and then you can figure out exactly why you are feeling so angry.
2 – Evaluate Why You Are Angry
Once you have accepted that you are feeling angry, the next step is a little easier. Now you have to start thinking about why you are feeling angry. Anger is a powerful emotion that makes you lose focus and the ability to think rationally.
When you force yourself to think about why exactly you are angry, you can bring back some of that rationality and allow your anger to simmer down a little. Some questions you can ask yourself include what threat am I perceiving, how big is this threat, and what steps can I take to deal with this effect.
3 – Take a Break
One of the best ways to manage anger as a leader is to simply take a break. You won’t believe how something as simple as a short break can do wonders to cool you off. When you are engaged in a heated debate with your emotions rising out of control, just take a moment to pause and remove yourself from that situation for a while.
You can go out for some coffee or just take a walk outside your office. As you put a little distance between yourself and the situation, it can help calm you down and view the event more objectively as well.
4 – Avoid Assumptions
The worst thing about anger is that it can make you go out of control at times. At such times, you may intentionally or unintentionally say or do things that may hurt the other person, leaving your relationship strained. Usually, these actions are a result of assumptions that leaders may make while in a state of anger.
Therefore, when leaders feel angry, they need to try their hardest to not make assumptions and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. The intern who you assume to be making mistakes on purpose may be trying their best and might be still learning the ropes.
5 – Work on Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to understand and control their emotions and the emotions of those around them. EQ is as important for competent leaders as is IQ or other technical skills. A leader with high EQ is able to recognize their emotions quickly and deal with their anger.
Increasing your emotional intelligence is not easy but it is not impossible either. It requires consistent effort and a constant eye on how people behave around you, reflecting on your actions, how you respond to others, and so on.
6 – Invest Time on Self Care
Sometimes anger in leaders can be a side effect of other problems as well. For instance, if the work is too tough, the leader can get stressed and anxious and as a result, be more prone to angry outbursts. That is why it is important to practice self-care to maintain optimal mental health at all times.
You can go for yoga, meditation, journaling, or engage in any other hobby or interest that helps you relax. Self-care can also include having a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, spending time with your loved ones, or even going for online anger management classes.
7 – Use Humor
A joke will be the last thing on your mind when you are overwhelmed with anger. However, humor can be an effective tool to manage anger as a leader. When you are feeling angry at a certain person, you can crack a joke to diffuse the situation and mend your relationship with the other person.
Having a quick laugh can ease the tension in your body and allow you to calm down. Once you are calm, you can think over the situation rationally without getting angry.
8 – Go for a Quick Workout
Exercising already has tons of physical and emotional benefits and this includes the ability to help reduce anger. The physical activity of exercising can loosen up your muscles, allowing the tension to be released. Additionally, as you exercise, your body releases certain endorphins which make you feel happy, countering the feelings of anger.
A quick workout also forces you to take deep breaths which further calms you down and lowers your fury. You don’t have to go for anything intense either. A simple brisk walk in your nearest park or a quick run over the treadmill will do the job.
9 – Avoid Triggers
If you have been struggling with anger for a while, you might know exactly what triggers your anger as well. So, it would be a good idea to avoid those triggers when you can. If meetings held at the end of the day make you stressed, try scheduling them earlier. If a certain colleague gets on your nerves, connect with them over email rather than in person.
However, this is only a short-term fix. You will need to find a permanent solution through online classes or by seeking professional help.
10 – Enroll in Anger Management Classes
If you feel you need a little help on your anger-management journey, you can always opt for online anger management classes. Our classes are designed by experts for leaders who struggle to manage their anger or who have been instructed by the court to attend anger management class.
The curriculum features various modules and teaches different ways to express your anger in a healthy. There are 4-hour, 6-hour, 8-hour, 26-hour, 36-hour, and 52-hour online anger management class, depending on your needs and preferences. Competent leaders can benefit from these classes to control their emotions and perform better in their leadership roles.
How leaders deal with anger plays a big role in their professional success, interpersonal relationships, and overall mental wellbeing. Learning to control a healthy emotion like anger can help motivate leaders to push themselves to perform better, deal with injustices at work, and survive tricky situations.
Moreover, it is only when you learn how to control your anger as a leader that you can then learn to deal with others’ anger as well.
Especially when you are in a leadership role, you are bound to face other people’s anger and complaints as well. Using the tips we’ve provided and online courses, you can quickly learn how leaders can control anger.