Leadership And Anger Management - What Is The Relationship?

anger management

Good leadership involves good anger management. Why?

Well, sooner or later, your subordinates will do something you lest expect of them . . . something that may make your blood boil and compel you to lose your cool, lose your temper, and even burst out in anger.

"I want to fire somebody!"

So screamed Dennison when one of his technicians crashed his 1.5 ton per hour dryer . . . and crashed the team's output performance for the day.

At some point in your relationship with your subordinates you may have felt like Dennison. And you may have been so pissed off by the action or inaction of one of your staff that you felt like letting hell lose.

That is a natural human reaction when things go wrong or when someone makes the kind of mistakes you consider unbelievable because of his training, status, or abilities.

This is just the time when good anger management skills come to play.

While it is natural to be incensed by unproductive behavior, things don't improve when you scream at the top of your voice.

The offence committed by the erring subordinate may be as a result of a number of factors. It could be that . . .

  • the subordinate did not know what to do even though everyone thinks he should or
  • he knew what to do but was overwhelmed by the events prior to the occurrence or
  • he was distracted by personal concerns or
  • he was emotionally disturbed or
  • he deliberately set out to sabotage the team

    Many people in leadership position are quick to conclude that an act of omission or commission is an act of sabotage. However, it may not always be so.

    There may actually be a lack of knowledge on the part of the subordinate. For instance, did he actually understand what was at stake in the first place? Did he deliberately commit the act?

    It is good to ask those questions because if you don't, you and your team may miss the important lesson from the experience. And it could happen again with another of your team members if the root cause of the problem is not addressed.

    That is the whole essence of good anger management.

    Good anger management involves registering your displeasure when things have not been done properly but doing so without drama or generating chaos.

    The subordinate involved needs to understand that he has performed below expectation. And where necessary, needs to be told what the sanctions will be.

    Nevertheless, do not be overly dramatic about any such incidence. Otherwise, your team members may become risk-averse . . . waiting for you to take all tough decisions thereby slowing down the pace of the team.

    Folks should be allowed to make mistakes. It is part of the learning process. But more important, ensure that the lessons are taken to heart - drive the message home. This will ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated again and again within your team.

    Effective management of anger is a key leadership trait. Check out the tips section for strategies to effectively manage your anger in the workplace.

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