“Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.”
Those are the words of The Incredible Hulk. I find his character fascinating. The angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes. Surprisingly, he turns green which is the colour of envy. In case you were wondering, there is a Red Hulk out there representing the actual colour of anger. He was created to defeat the Hulk. But enough about pop-culture, let’s better understand the emotion.
Anger is a basic and raw human emotion. Just like any other emotion it occurs in the mind in response to external stimulus. The external stimulus causes stress. People have different tolerances to stress. When stress tolerance is exceeded, the body releases adrenaline into our bloodstream. When this happens, our primal instincts takeover. We are temporarily granted additional strength (like the Hulk) to either fight or flee whatever is the cause of the stress. Anger is the beginnings of our fighting response. If left unchecked, it can have devastating results, not just to you, but your surroundings as well.
If you are a fan of Star Wars, then you would remember the wise words of Yoda when he says, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”. He understood that the feeling of anger can be very intoxicating. Believe it or not, anger is a powerful motivator. What it motivates us to do on the other hand is a separate discussion. Getting angry is often looked at negatively. Are we not allowed to express our anger? In my opinion, we can and we should however there is a time, a place and a method to do so.
There are a lot of angry people out there in the world. More so today than there ever was. You don’t need me to tell you why. Angry people go to work just like everyone else. As a leader in the workplace you could be one of them or you may manage some of them. Is it worth getting angry in the office? Let me share a personal story to answer this. I once had a bad interaction with a manager in the office which left me feeling very angry. I went to speak to my manager about it. She gave me some simple advice in private which resonates with me to this day. She said, “This is just the office. We just come here to work. There is a lot of work in here and out there. There are more important things to get angry about”. Of course, she gave me some guidance to handle the situation, but it took me a while to really understand the meaning behind those words. When I did, it made all the difference.
Managing work is one thing, managing people is another. Sometime there will be situations where anger will arise. Stay professional and keep your stress at bay by upgrading your EQ!
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