The other night I sat in a parents meeting for my son who is playing high school basketball this year. After the coach had talked about policies, schedules etc… The school Athletic Director spoke.
He pleaded with parents to follow the “24 Hour Rule.” He said that whenever you have a gripe with a coach don’t approach him right after the game. If you do, the coach may act in a way he shouldn’t, which may cause you to act in a way you shouldn’t and vice versa.
Instead, he said, wait 24 hours, sleep on it and then deal with it. This is anger management 101, but something we all need to be reminded of from time to time as leaders.
I suppose you are a lot like me. There are times when it is best I take a long walk around the building before talking to an employee for example. There are times when it is best that I remove myself from the heat of the situation before I say something I regret.
Last week I wrote a well received post titled “Whoaaa! Before You Send That Angry Email – 3 Important Tips.” In it I spoke about the need to rest on it, talk to someone before sending the email and meeting instead of emailing. Today I want to provide some additional tips on managing your anger.
Here are three tips that have worked for me, but that at the same time I am still trying to personally master. They are important for leaders to consider.
1. Come from a different place. If your heart isn’t beating that you care and instead beating that you want to hit someone; wait. In this case rest on it until you are at a place in which you do care. This is easier said than done, but it is possible.
Remember the reason you became a leader, which is hopefully because you care about people and want to help them succeed. Once you are at that place, you are in a better position to address the situation.
2. Identify causes and solutions. Instead of focusing on the anger, choose to focus on how to resolve the issue. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix a thing and may make things worse.
Look inwardly, is there something you should be doing differently? Often times anger distorts and magnifies the negative aspects of an issue. Are you personally hungry, stressed, tired or not feeling well?
Does the employee that made you angry clearly understand the expectations? Is there something else beyond this persons control causing the issue? Was the intent of this person to hurt or make you angry?
3. Get some exercise. The above two anger management tips are mental, this one is physical. It is amazing what a little exercise can do to cool you off. Going for a walk or run can clear your mind as can playing a game you love. The key is to just get out and do something different than thinking about why you are angry.
What other tips do you personally have for dealing with anger? We would love to hear them.
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