One of the least talked about, but essential aspects of becoming a great leader is developing emotional control. On the off-chance that emotions are brought up in a leadership training, anger won’t likely be one of them.
It is the most extreme on the human emotion spectrum and we’ve done some heinous things while under its influence. Understandably, a training facilitator wouldn’t want to touch the topic with a 10 foot pole. It’s just too personal, mysterious and dangerous.
But the fact is people get angry everyday—particularly while working. This week in particular I’ve lost count. I felt the emotion most pointedly when I learned (through a form letter no less) that I was declined for another position at a targeted employer I spent weeks researching and vying for its attention. I also felt anger’s white hot surge when PayPal deducted $1,600 from my account siding in favor of a (likely fraudulent) eBay customer who claimed he never received the vintage watch I sold and sent him. The watch is now somewhere lost in Asia and PayPal reps insist, ‘there’s nothing they can do.’ I’m getting angry all over again writing about it.
I am fully aware, however, that if left unaddressed anger can produce harmful emotional and physical effects. So what can be done to control it?
Though we’ve already determined that corporate leadership training programs don’t have much to say on this matter, the good ol’ trusty self-help genre has plenty of advice. And it typically boils down to this:
Recognize that you’re angry-this might seem like a no-brainer, but many a ‘crime of passion’ has been committed because the person failed to do this.
Allow yourself to feel it-this is the hardest one, but trying to push it away or suppress it only makes it stronger and unaddressed anger from the past will eventually come to the surface again and leak into other areas of your life.
Slow down physically and mentally-ideally, when you’re feeling the emotion the strongest you should not say or do anything in response to the anger until the feeling lessens. Zip your mouth, go for a walk and just step away from the situation is the general consensus. If you can’t do that then speak less and more slowly. Oh, and never hit ‘send’ on anything written in the heat of anger! That alone can ruin a career.
Lastly, though it’s hard to believe, all emotions have the potential to dissipate—even anger. So the sting I feel from this week’s rejection form letter and the pain of losing money I really, really needed to live on will all fade in time if I follow the above advice, gain emotional control and eventually let it go.
My name is Viola Minicozzi and I’m a HR professional looking to land my dream job in Phoenix, AZ. From December 1, 2015 through March 1, 2016, I’ve committed to blogging everyday on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter about my progress and a host of other career related topics along the way.
Join me on the journey. #90DaysToMyDreamJob