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Anger …

What do you think about getting angry at work?  Does the boss get mad at you?  Or you at the boss?  Ever write a nasty email?  Ever find yourself yelling at a colleague?  Or at a customer service rep?  Have they been trained to deal with you?

How to Manage an Irate Client Call:

“I’m sorry you’re so upset.  I really feel your pain.  No, I don’t think we can fix the problem.  No, you can’t get your money back.  Well, I am the supervisor.  Let me transfer you to Mr. Dial Tone…” 

Unknown Sage

I’ve tried (unsuccessfully, as my manager knows) to temper my anger over the years.  Then, I read this article published in Sales and Marketing Magazine ©  “Is There A Place For Anger In Management?”  Now I’m not so sure.

Paul Nolan offers several points backed by research that suggest anger is more good than bad in the work place.  Here’s one excerpt:

We’re more likely to perceive people who express anger as competent, powerful and the kinds of leaders who will overcome challenges.  Anger motivates us to undertake difficult tasks.

Competent and powerful… motivate to accomplish difficult tasks… I don’t know – what do you think?  Do his views resonate with you?  Here’s another conclusion from the online publication Quartz ©:

…a negative emotion doesn’t always lead to a negative outcome.

After all, Apples’ Steve Jobs was infamous (or perhaps famous) for his tirades.

Here’s another view courtesy of two, fictitious monks:

Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery.  They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly.  Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water.  She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.

In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women.  But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride.  Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream – assisting her journey and saving her gown.  She smiled and bowed with gratitude as the monk splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.

The second monk was livid!  ‘How could you do that?’ he scolded.  ‘You know we are forbidden to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around.’

The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery.  His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds.  After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours.  He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk.

‘How could you carry that woman?’ his agitated friend cried out.  ‘Someone else could have helped her across the stream.  You were a bad monk.’

‘What woman?’ the sleepy monk inquired.

‘Don’t you even remember?  That woman you carried across the stream’ his colleague snapped.

‘Oh, her’ laughed the sleepy monk.  ‘I only carried her across the stream.  You carried her all the way back to the monastery.” 

Buddhist parable

I suppose anger boils down to a matter of degree and the context of the situation.

I don’t always succeed in controlling my anger at work (or outside of work, either).  However, I do try to avoid “carrying it all the way back to the monastery”.

GAP

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2 Comments


  1. Matthew Aghdasi
    Sep 04, 2019

    Great read Gary. I’ve found in my short career that often emotions are frowned upon in the workplace and you find that stoicism is promoted. Cheers!


    • Gary
      Sep 05, 2019

      Thanks for reading and responding to my post Matthew! I agree that stoicism is promoted – I’ve just never developed that skill LoL! As one of my favorite quote goes,”One with passion is better than forty who are merely interested.” Thx, GAP

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