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Like anywhere else in society, people become angry in the workplace. In fact, people have a lot of experience dealing with anger long before entering the labor force. According to the article, “Dealing with Anger”, written by Jones and Banet, Jr., anger is the first emotion human beings experience and the last they learn how to manage effectively, It got me to thinking; is anger an uncontrollable reaction or is it a choice? My answer – it depends on if it is the boss, peer or an employee.

There is a television show titled “What Would You Do?” So, I ask what would you do if a boss, peer, or a subordinate angered you? The power differential between you and the boss probably would cause a muted response. You might go toe to toe with a peer and possibly let a subordinate have it. Perhaps your answer is none of the above.

These scenarios suggest that we are response-able. That is to say, we can choose our responses, however, the anger might not go away. It could simmer and reappear in less direct confrontational forms. Repressed anger continues to grow which could put you in a downward trajectory that is inconsistent with your character. You might subconsciously exhibit behaviors that include sarcasm, sabotage, passive-aggression and absenteeism to name a few. You don’t want to be that person.

Holding anger in side can damage you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Therefore, it is in your best interest to jettison it. Although difficult, take a calming breath, hear the words, listen to the tone and watch the body language. You don’t want to respond to another person’s anger with anger. Discern what’s at the core of the other person’s behavior. They could be upset with something or someone else but transfer their anger your way because you happened to be near. If it’s a one-time issue, excuse yourself, give it a moment and then circle back. If it is a long-term systemic issue and you have “crucial conversations” skills training take the time to sort it out. If we deal with anger directly, the discomfort and unpleasantness are compensated by the new learning and heightened self-awareness. 

The man that masters himself through self-discipline can never be mastered by others (Napoleon Hill). I have heard that the person who angers you controls you. Learn to manage anger. Once mastered you’ll be in a better position to effectively manage your emotions and the world around you. Change your thoughts, change your destiny!