I’ve identified six of the most common roles that people have in the workplace to deal with their anger. Which one are you? Which one is your boss? Read on to find out…
This is the team member who cannot control their feelings and who at some point found out that they got their way by behaving in this way. Why else would they behave like that? They may shout and scream, they may threaten you physically whilst making themselves bigger to, you’ve got it, intimidate you. The ones that are really clever though, will lower their voices, move into your personal space while making direct eye contact. They don’t have to be loud and explosive to intimidate you. They are known for their ability to simmer for days.
“It’s not fair” they cry. “It’s not my fault, this is all your fault” they will say. This is the workplace victim. Of course, people do get victimise at work and I am not ridiculing their painful and very real experience. What I am describing here is an expression of anger. A way of slyly letting anger out. “Why am I the only person who maintains the filing system in their place? Everyone assumes that I am going to clear up after them. It’s not fair”
They may not physically tie you down and shine a bright light in your eyes but the effect is very, very similar. Instead of saying “I am feeling angry with you,” this person goes into questioning mode. They know the answers to most of the questions already but that’s not the reason they are asking them. “How many client meetings have you had this month? How many phone calls have you made? What percentage of target did you make this month? Are you pleased with that performance?”
The Control Freak
This is a special way of doing anger because when in this mode we do not admit to being angry. To stereotype it this is the supervisor who strolls in to the workplace and start picking faults, challenging work rates and starting little fights. But, when they are challenged, they will say words to the effect of “if you did your job better I wouldn’t need to talk to you like this. I’m not angry I’m just challenging you. In fact, you’re the one that needs to work on your anger issues. Look at you now.” They never have arguments. The just have logical discussions which they never lose.
Every workplace has one and they can be a lot of fun. An interesting question to ask is! Are they just having fun or do they have an issue with the n they are teasing?” The joker knows how to press your buttons and how to get you wound up. They will push and push until you are just about to burst and then they will retreat with the words “hey, calm down!! Can’t you take a joke?” In reality, when we are in this form of anger we are too scared to express our own anger so we are going to wind someone else up so that they express it for us. How clever is that?
Often known as Conan the Destroyer. Destroyer of lap tops, kicker of doors and the smasher of mobile phones. The destroyer is going to show you how angry they are by breaking things. Of course they don’t have to break things to use this form of anger. Sometimes a drawer shut with just a little bit more energy than normal is the first sign. May be a few tuts and huffs and puffs under their breath is the warning of things to come before suddenly the key board hits the floor and they start swearing.
So here’s the question, which one are you? If you don’t think you fit any of those then you are likely to be in denial. Most of us will have used all of these techniques at some point, but the chances are that you’ll have a preferred style.
The key issue here is that by allowing ourselves and others to behave in these ways we build workplaces that are inefficient, uncomfortable and unhealthy.
• Inefficient because too much mental and emotional energy is expended trying to dance around each other rather than being healthy and assertive and clearing the air.
• Uncomfortable because when any of the above is being acted out it is not nice and that is distracting and that causes yet more inefficiencies.
• Unhealthy because it is not honest and dishonest relationships are not healthy and lead to more stress, more absence and less productivity.
A healthy workplace is where disagreements are encouraged, aired openly and resolved with positive intent. Being healthy and assertive about anger ensures that anyone of any status in the organisation can sit down with anyone else and clear the air in a healthy, non-shaming and healing way. It is the nature of humans to disagree. It does not have to be their nature to perpetuate conflict.