Leaders Must Control This Emotion

angryBigg success is life on your own terms. Growth, one of the five elements of bigg success, is our focus today.

If we’re going to succeed bigg, we must learn to control our emotions. Otherwise, they will control us. This is particularly true for leaders. One of the emotions leaders must control is their anger.

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Anger works against communication

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george I know from first-hand experience because I used to have a temper. Over time, I learned to control it because I realized it was counter-productive. People don’t respond well to it.

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marylynnThat’s the point. It seems that, in most cases, people either withdraw or they get defensive. Neither one is conducive to productive communication.

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Getting it under control

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george What helped me the most in controlling my anger was taking a step back – not necessarily physically, but mentally. Although, I have physically taken a step back when someone got too aggressive. It kept the situation from escalating.

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marylynnOf course, sometimes it pays to remove yourself from the environment altogether. Literally move to another space and relax for awhile before you respond.

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Responding like Goldilocks

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george I’ve coached a lot of people on just that issue. This is another Goldilocks principle. You want to get your response just right. There’s a tendency to respond too quickly – on the spot – and with anger.

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marylynnYou may win the battle but lose the war. The person retreats but the relationship is damaged. Or the other person comes right back and the conversation escalates to an even higher level of anger.

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george Exactly. The other side of it is leaders who don’t respond quickly enough. You have to get back to the person in a timely manner or you’re essentially rubber stamping their behavior. As a young manager, I probably responded too quickly. As I got older, I may have been too slow at times. Hopefully, in my advanced years, I’m getting closer to a good balance.

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How you say it

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marylynnKnow the purpose of your follow-up communication. Understand that how you say it is just as important as what you say. If you want to build the relationship, talk in the third person as much as possible. This is not the time for you-view. Try to frame the discussion like a reporter. Remove the personalities to diffuse the situation.

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Controlled anger can be a tool if brought out under the right circumstances:

Focus on the situation

When you express controlled anger, your people know you’re serious. You have to be careful with this one, but it’s okay to express anger about a situation.

This is an important distinction – be angry about the situation, not the person. You will keep things moving in the right direction with this mental shift.

Use it infrequently

This tool isn’t productive is used regularly. It has to be the exception. Otherwise, you’re the boy who cried wolf! If you only pull it out once in a while, it can serve a useful purpose.

The bottom line is to be yourself. It’s okay to let your anger show now and then. Just keep it under control and keep your purpose in mind when you respond.

Then you’ll build relationships rather than tear them apart. You’ll build your people up rather than bring them down. That’s bigg success!

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Thank you so much for checking in with us today. Please join us next time when we discuss reasons why you should keep your day job. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by atsoram)

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