Thursday, December 03, 2009

Do Workplaces Need Anger Management or Anger Solutions?

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Here is a re-posting of some interesting observations on workplace anger from Frank Szivos, contributing writer to Westport, "Is letting off steam in the workplace allowed?"Posted: 04/09/2009

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.

You can read the whole article at

My thoughts:

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 for more information.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Drowning in Debt? So was I...

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInSolutions for Sinking in Debt
It wasn't that long ago that my husband and I were sinking deep in debt. We owed $248,000. We were homeless. He was jobless. We had lost our house, our car, our social status, and our sense of who we were as a couple.

We call those days the "Dark Ages". It was 12 years ago that our life fell apart - and we found ourselves starting over with absolutely nothing but faith, hope, and love.

Imagine yourself, a young couple still in your 20's, with three young kids to take care of, and nowhere to call your own. Imagine having no money for first and last month's rent, and no one to buy the house you can't afford to keep. Imagine wondering if you will have to sleep in the car - wait a minute... you sold that to pay down your debt. Imagine... looking around your community and wondering where would be a safe place for you and your family to stay.I

magine applying for government assistance only to have them tell you they can't help - your mortgage payments are too high - your house is worth too much. See yourself trying to explain that the house value is dropping by the day, and you can't attract any buyers.

Hear the welfare worker apologize and say she wishes she could help - here's a few hundred dollars for groceries and diapers. After that, you're on your own.

Imagine not knowing where to go for help. And imagine yourself trying to keep up the pretense of "everything being okay" to the outside world, while your life is shattering into pieces around you.

This was our story. Perhaps it is your story too. Debt has a way of pushing you down, oppressing you until you feel you can't breathe. I have written an E-Book that shares our story, and shows you how in less than 6 years, we were able to become entirely debt free so we could re-build our life. I wrote the E-Book because I remember how lost we were. And how proud we were. We didn't want people to know what we were going through or how bad it was.

We were embarrassed that we were losing everything we had worked so hard for. We were afraid of what it would mean if people found out.

That fear prevented us from reaching out, asking for help, doing research, and a host of other things that could have saved us from financial ruin. I hope that by sharing our story and showing you the steps we took to save ourselves, that you will learn from our mistakes, follow the advice we share, and avoid the heartache that we experienced.

If you're in the thick of it right now, fill out the form on this page and put your name on the wait list for the E-Book. If you need the E-Book, don't worry, it isn't going to cost you an investment of $179 like some other "get rich quick" folks will charge you. Not $99, or even $59. You will be able to get this E-Book for less than $10.

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Why am I doing this? Why am I offering it so cheap? Because I know what it is like to have to choose between a pair of stockings and a bag of milk for the kids. I know what it is like to have to pray that money will come from somewhere, anywhere - to help us from situation to situation. I know that if you REALLY need this E-Book, it would be wrong to ask you to sacrifice $179, $99, or even $59 when you could use that for next week's groceries.

So why am I charging you anything at all? Why not just give it to you for free? Because I also know that when you pay for something, it demonstrates your need, as well as your willingness to follow through. It means you are taking ownership for your problem, AND you are showing your commitment to finding a solution. So don't worry - it is affordable, and it is filled with sound advice from one who was once buried in the trenches, and fought her way out.

Contact me today. Let me know you want a copy of the new E-Book and I'll be sure you are at the head of the pack when the E-Book is released in about 10 days time.Your partner in creating lasting solutions,

Julie Christiansen

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