Some interesting observations on workplace anger from Frank Szivos, contributing writer to Westport Minuteman.com, "Is letting off steam in the workplace allowed?"
A recent Gallup poll showed that anger is becoming one of corporate America's biggest problems. In the poll, two of every ten employees admitted being angry enough to "hurt" a co-worker. Mis-managed anger is exploding more frequently in the workplace.
Organizations can generate strong emotions among workers who are working in a competitive environment. In some instances, anger is not always a bad thing. Workers who care and are invested in projects or their job will feel strongly about how things are done. While flare ups are expected, the workplace is experiencing more serious chronic emotional issues.
On bad days, due to the disagreements and resentments brewing in the office, it's amazing that any work gets done at all. The situation can grow tenser among corporations and businesses when it occurs between upper management and subordinates. When the boss is angry, employees can catch the fallout, leaving them resentful and angry with little recourse to express their emotions.
Victoria Brescoll, a professor of Management at Yale School of Management, has found that anger management can be even more frustrating for women, who often aren't given equal status on the job.In the workplace, women are less expected to express anger. If they do, they can be labeled as "difficult," Brescoll notes. Anger is more identified as a male emotion."There are a lot of negative consequences when women get angry at work," Brescoll said. "In general, women have less status and respect on the job. Data shows that women are less likely to express their anger in the office, and men are less likely to express other emotions, such as fear or sadness."
Because of the recession and cut backs in staff, individuals are more likely to hang onto jobs where they are experiencing frustration, but see no other options at this time. Dissatisfaction can create a hair trigger environment.
Anger typically flares because of one or all three basic trigger beliefs:
*An employee thinks a situation is unfair. As an example, the worker has to stay late and believes others don't.
*It's happening to me only. Workers feel suggestions or efforts are ignored or they're singled out negatively.
*They feel powerless. It's too difficult to make headway against the current of the work culture.
It's natural to feel anger and frustration. (However, beware if you're chronically angry, which can stem from emotional issues). With so much work to do, little downtime, and many different personalities, conflicts are bound to occur on the job. The occasional flare-up is one thing, but a workplace that is seething is quite another.
©Westport Minuteman 2009
You can read the whole article at http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1654&dept_id=57100&newsid=20295107&PAG=461&rfi=9
Quite right... a workplace that is seething is not a fun place to be, and can in fact be quite dangerous. A 1994 study found that Canada is the 4th most dangerous country in which to work - this study has never been refuted. Workplace anger continues to rise in part because of frustration, stress, feeling overused and underappreciated, overworked and underpaid - the list goes on. Add to that the pressures of today's financial climate, and we have a potentially explosive situation.
So here are some tips from an Anger Solutions perspective for whenever you are faced with an anger-inducing situation, use this model for problem solving.
- THINK - what is happening? what does it mean? how do I feel about it? how would I like this problem to be resolved? what is the best option for resolution? what is the best/worst thing that can happen if I respond with this option?
- SAY - talk to the people or person involved in the situation. Be sure to separate the person from the problem. Speak about the issues - do not lay blame or place judgement. Talk about how you feel - not how other people "make you feel". Be clear about how you would like to solve the problem and how the other person can engage with you in the solution.
- ASK - ask for a response. "Do you understand where I'm coming from?" - "How can we work together to ensure this doesn't happen again?" Ask questions that are empowering and assume that you can, in fact, achieve a positive outcome.
- Keep working through this TSA model until you have reached an agreement or you agree to disagree.
- Release residual anger - go for a walk, take a break from your work space, squeeze a stressball, or go to the gym after work and release the energy there. This will help your physiology and your emotional state to return to baseline. Then you won't be carrying around negative energy that can compound over time and contribute to a chronically toxic or angry workplace.
Want to learn more about Anger Solutions? Visit http://www.angersolution.com/faqs.php for more information.