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Every business owner can relate: Once we start our companies, suddenly a whole plethora of emotions begin to creep in and occasionally throw us off balance. Be it excitement, worry, fear or willingness to move at a faster pace, it’s indeed a world full of unexpected situations and feelings. Sometimes, when we are in a leadership position, anger may become a frequent emotion we need to face.
Being a leader is by all means not easy. On the one hand, we need to carefully consider how to manage our team; on the other, we also need to pay extra attention to the clients and projects and make sure everything is going according to plan. But as it often turns out, enjoying a smooth experience is not always the case — once obstacles and issues arise, it’s quite natural for most individuals to let anger consume them. But is that really the best leadership approach one could obtain?
Here are four useful strategies that can help anyone who runs a business and/or leads a team to better access their anger and transform it into way more fruitful emotion and management behavior.
Related: Don’t Pop Your Top: 5 Thoughts to Keep You Calm in an Angry Moment
Don’t avoid your emotions
I’ve always found the topic of expressing emotions in leadership quite intriguing. On the one hand, they could be detrimental to successful management; on the other, the complete lack of emotions could potentially lead to other problems and prevent the leader from building healthy and strong relationships with their peers.
Showcasing an impeccable level of soft skills is very important for successful leadership. Empathetic, understanding and supportive managers who are excellent at communication and acknowledging people’s needs and emotions are perhaps the very definition of someone destined to lead.
However, intense emotions that often land on the negative spectrum (such as anger) often throw us off balance and therefore awaken strong emotional responses — and that’s something leaders may want to avoid, since balance is the ultimate virtue when it comes to people management. Yelling, being rude and letting anger creep in is perhaps the worst behavior one could portray, especially when their job deals with other people (and their emotions as well).
Since dynamic workspaces and corporations are a great example of competitiveness, pressure and ever-occurring obstacles, no one is really immune to anger and frustration. That’s why I thought it would be useful for me to offer ways and guidelines that could help leaders see the anger coming and do their best to transform it and express it in a healthier way. Let’s see how.
Related: How to Transform Anger Into Constructive Action
1. Train yourself in being self-aware
Oftentimes, we let an emotion consume us just because we are not fully aware of its existence and we lack information on the true reason for the emotion.
For example, a client raising a complaint about how the project’s going may make us angry in a split second, but if we do some digging, we might realize that the actual feeling behind this frustration is a fear of failure. Once we become more self-aware, we can have the chance to sit still for a moment and explore thoroughly the emotion’s origin. Then we can look at things from a different perspective and ultimately change our whole reaction to the situation.
2. Give yourself time and don’t rush into things
Whatever mishap might have happened, our reacting right on the spot is perhaps the worst thing we could do. Instead, give yourself a moment and distance yourself from the situation — go somewhere quiet and reconsider your reaction by exploring your own feelings. As time passes, we relax and give our brains the chance to come up with more fruitful courses of action and problem-solving decisions and approaches.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
If an employee has failed to deliver up to your standards, try engaging in an open conversation and determine together the origin of their mistake. This will show them you care and search for solutions, instead of turning into the yelling boss who intimidates their employees. Proper communication is your strongest weapon — use it and build strong relationships with the team.
4. Try to learn from the experience
When you feel anger is about to creep in, try asking yourself what this situation or a problem is trying to teach you. Viewing everything as an opportunity to learn something and grow in your personal or professional development is a great strategy to transform anger into an incredible learning experience that will turn anyone into a high-end successful leader.
Have you ever felt furious when managing people or projects? What are some of your coping mechanisms? Learning to control our disruptive emotions is indeed a sign of maturity and professionalism — two qualities that go hand in hand with exceptional business ownership and development.
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