Why Venting Is The Wrong Way To Deal With Workplace Anger

by drjim on August 4, 2016

You might think that complaining is the right thing to do, but it isn't

You might think that complaining is the right thing to do, but it isn’t
Image Credit: Ferran Jordà

So here’s an interesting question for you: have you ever become angry at work? If you’ve been working for any length of time, the answer to this question has to be “yes” – we all have. Now comes the much bigger question: what did you do about it? It turns out that there are right things and wrong things to do when we become angry at work.

It Is So Very Easy To Vent When You Become Angry At Work

Let’s start at the beginning. What can make you really angry at work? There are a lot of different things but I think that we all share a number of “buttons” that can set us off pretty easily. A bad review from your boss, not being invited to an important meeting, being passed over for a promotion, etc. When something like this happens, we start to feel angry. Generally there will be other things that are going on that will just add fuel to this fire: somebody will take our parking space, we’ll spill food on ourselves, and so on as the anger builds and builds. This is not one of the IT manager skills that we are the most proud of.

When we find ourselves becoming angrier and angrier we develop a desperate need to find a way to release all of this anger. We go looking for a way to vent. In the old days we’d go find a friend or a spouse and give them an earful. Now that we’re living in the 21st Century we have a wide range of electronic options available to us. It’s oh so easy to whip out an angry email, chat, text, or pour our broken heart out on one of the various social media platforms. These days we can do this from anywhere as long as we have our phone with us. What’s even better is that after we do it, we almost always feel better.

This is when the problems start to show up. The first problem is that studies have shown that venting actually does not make you feel better. Instead it’s going to end up making you feel angrier and more aggressive. Also, once you’ve vented online it’s going to be out there forever. This means that your angry words can easily come back to haunt you. You may have damaged your reputation, made friends and family angry with you, and identified yourself as a whiner whom nobody wants to be around.

How To Control Your Emotions At Work When You Become Angry

Look, we are always going to be encountering situations at work that are going to make us angry. There is simply nothing that we do to prevent this from happening. What we need to do is to come up with a better coping strategy. We need some IT manager training on how to deal with this anger thing. One of the things that we need to understand is that when we vent online, what’s missing is that human feedback look where the other person rolls their eyes and tells us that we’re getting upset over nothing.

In order to get a handle on our anger, we first have to take steps to calm our body down. Anger is an emotion that can take over our entire being. The first thing that we’re going to want to do is to find ways to delay our response. The more time that we take to decide what we want to do, the more time we’ll give our anger to calm down. Try counting to 100, taking deep breaths, or listening to music that will calm you down. You may also wish to turn off your computer or cell phone and block the focus of your anger’s mobile number so that you won’t be tempted to get in contact with them.

What you are going to want to do is to distract yourself from the anger that has been building up inside of you. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this including working on a crossword puzzle, taking a walk, or reading a calming book. Make sure that you are not hungry – people who are hungry tend to become even more angry. Additionally, you are going to want to do something that is incompatible with being angry. Spending time with a pet or with your spouse is a great way to calm yourself down. If you have to, write a letter or an email to the person who wronged you, but don’t sent it – just file it.

What All Of This Means For You

Anger is something that we all feel at different times. When we are at work there are a number of different things that can cause us to become angry. When this happens we need to be aware of it and take action. If we’re not careful, we may end up doing things that we’ll later regret and we can forget about accomplishing any IT team building when that happens.

When we are at work and something makes us angry, we all of a sudden start to feel the need to vent our emotions. These days we start looking for electronic ways to vent because there are so many of them and they are so convenient: email, social media, etc. However, we need to realize that these vents live on forever and they may make us look unattractive to others. Instead of railing against those that we feel have wronged us online, we need to take a different path. What we need to do is find ways to distract ourselves from our anger. There are a lot of ways to do this including talking with close friends and our spouse about what is making us so upset.

It’s amazing at just how much damage we can do to ourselves and our career in a very short amount of time when we become angry at work. The modern electronic communication tools that we now have available to us make it even easier to quickly do harm to our careers. If we can learn to identify when we’ve become angry and then start to take steps to give ourselves time to calm down, we can try to avoid doing damage to ourselves. Let’s make sure that we don’t do the wrong thing the next time we become mad at work.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: When you feel yourself becoming angry at work, do you think that you should leave before you become even more angry?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I have bad days at work. The cause of a bad day for me can vary, but generally it all comes down to some interaction that I’ve had with someone that did not go well despite all of my IT manager skills. When the day is done and I’m finally at home, it can be difficult to shake the memory of the day and what went wrong with it – it can just keep replaying over and over in your head. For some IT managers this is a huge problem and it keeps them from being as effective as they could be.

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