Let’s face it we are all human, and sometimes we get angry. Anger is not even a bad thing, but how we respond makes all the difference. I grew up in a home with a father who had a horrible temper. As I child, I never learned how to process anger properly, and that affected me as I got older. I think having a husband and kids convinced me that I had to get better at processing my anger – not to feel guilty about getting angry, but making sure it is used constructively instead of destructively.
We all have days at work (or at home) when enough is enough and you have just had it! What do you do? Sell your practice, run away to a deserted island, and change your name? Unfortunately, those are not good options for anyone despite what you may be thinking. There are a few steps you can take in order to help process your anger or frustration.
- You must acknowledge to yourself that you are angry. That is okay. In fact, it is one thing that makes you human. Women, especially, are sometimes wired to feel that we should not get angry and that is just not true.
- You must acknowledge your anger to the other person/persons. Now that may seem counterintuitive, but let’s remember first of all, the people who you work with are not dumb- they know you are angry. Too often we think we can just stuff it in and not deal with it. That will destroy you over time, and it will create a divide among you and your team.
- You must agree that verbal or physical explosions that attack another person are not appropriate response to anger. “Venting” is never healthy, nor is going to talk to a third party (triangulation) in your hospital about the situation. Triangulation can and does have devastating consequences to any team. It goes without saying that any type of physical explosions are out of bounds and absolutely destroy the credibility you have as a leader.
- Seek an explanation before passing judgment. I am horrible at this! Just this past weekend, I had it with my entire family so I sat them down and explained my frustrations. My son and my daughter came up soon after and apologized for their behavior, but where was the apology from my husband? I stewed towards him all day and the next morning I asked him how come the kids had no issue apologizing to me but he had not apologized? He reminded me that he had actually apologized to me earlier that AM (before I had spoken with them) and guess what- I did not remember!
- Lastly, agree to seek a resolution. Setting a time frame in which conflict will be resolved is very helpful. Set a 48-hour rule. If there is conflict, it will be handled within 48 hours. I am not a big policy person, but creating a 48-hour rule in your hospital will force you to deal with the issue. I, for one, cannot have these conversations right away because my emotions will always get the best of me.
I doubt I am the only one who has struggled with anger at work or even at home. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I hope these 5 steps will help you on those challenging days!
How do you deal with anger at work?