Leadership Derailers: Anger

By Dan Rockwell

Anger changes the world. The question is how.

There’s no middle ground with anger. It makes you better or drags you to oblivion.

Anger is energy.

3 dangers of anger:

#1. Anger is like the flu. It’s contagious.

A leader’s behavior is permission.

Angry leaders give permission for others to be abusive.

#2. Anger used poorly is poison. It weakens relationships and lowers trust.

You get angry when you hang around angry people.

#3. Unresolved anger turns into:

  1. Blame.
  2. Bitterness.
  3. Hatred.
  4. Helplessness.
  5. Depression.
  6. Gossip.
  7. Ungratefulness.

Anger is useful when it…

  1. Spurs useful action.
  2. Clarifies values.
  3. Shifts from don’t-want to do-want.
  4. Progresses through blame to responsibility.

7 strategies that maximize anger.

#1. Emulate skillful leaders who handle anger wisely.

Find an anger mentor. Start asking leaders, “How are you navigating frustration and anger?”

#2. Chill out. Don’t throw gas on a hot fire.

  1. Take a slow walk.
  2. Meditate or pray.
  3. Take a shower.

#3. Practice gratitude.

Gratitude is a magic elixir that transforms attitudes.

#4. Adopt a solution mindset.

Frustration, used well, is a step forward.

Destructive anger wants to validate itself and prove others wrong. It’s impossible to strengthen relationships and improve performance while putting others down.

Evaluate your plans by their impact on others. Ask yourself, “If I do what I plan, will I make things better or worse?

#5. Apologize.

Self-justification weakens leaders. An apology strengthens relationships.

#6. Forgive.

Draw a line in the sand and start fresh.

Treat people with their strengths in mind, not their past offenses.

If for no other reason, forgive for your wellbeing.

#7. Don’t talk about it unless you plan to improve it.

Rehearsing a negative experience is reliving it.

Venting doesn’t lessen anger’s heat. (Bushman)

What’s dangerous about anger?

How might leaders make the most of anger?

Bonus material:

Anger Management: 10 Tips to Tame Your Temper (Mayo)

How Negative Impulse Triggers Positive Response (Leadership Freak)

This post was previously published on [Medium] and is republished here with a Creative Commons license.

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Photo credit: iStock

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