Anger at Work

Repercussions of anger

Anger in any environment leads to problems, and at work it is particularly destructive. I was speaking to a client this week and he shared a story that is a perfect example of this.

The young woman is a front-desk employee in a medical office. Her job is to answer phones and schedule appointments. However, on this particular day the patients were extra demanding.  After an entire morning of demanding people she had one call that must have pushed her over her emotional limit; and when she hung up the phone she made a derogatory comment about the person.

Other patients in the room heard the outburst and it was a bad reflection on the employee as well as the practice. This was brought to her boss’s (my client’s) attention and he justifiably reprimanded her.

Of course, now on top of being angry at the patient on the phone, she was now also angry with her boss for calling her out. This anger I’m sure was combined with the inevitable embarrassment that came from being “talked to” at work. When she left his office, he was certain that she would quit.

A surprising response

But, something interesting happened when she got home that night. This young woman got some very sound advice from her equally young husband. He told her to suck it up. Her husband reminded her that his boss reprimands him on occasion, and he survives. He explained to her that her boss doesn’t care about why she was angry, he cared about the impact it had on his business.

This advice was perfect. It diffused the  situation for her. It made her realize that it wasn’t an attack on her personally, it was a consequence of her behavior. A behavior that she knew she could easily change.

Well-Meaning Friends Can Cause Harm

The response from the husband isn’t typical. Most often, when a person complains about work to a friend or family member, that family member will validate the anger. A comment like “you should be mad, what a jerk your boss was” in order to take the side of the person they love.

Instead of diffusing the fire, they fuel it. Adding fuel to this type of fire can start a downward spiral leading to  job dissatisfaction and possibly a job change.

Change the way you look at things

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change” Wayne Dyer

When the angry young woman got home from work that evening, her husband basically told her to look at things differently. He pointed out her boss’s perspective; and he reminded her that others have experienced the same humiliation.

Without directly using a Wayne Dyer quote, he gave the same sound advice.

If this advice is consistently followed it can have  a profound effect your attitude.

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