So often I encounter teams of leaders who feel they need no assistance with conflict resolution when it is so apparent that they do. “We are not angry. We do not fight. Everything is fine!”

The fact that they are not yelling at each other is not the litmus test that determines whether or not they are angry. More often it means that they are avoiding conflict, stuffing their feelings, and, as an alternative, building a wall of resentments between those with whom they live and work.

The anger management movement was certainly a step in the right direction. It moved us away from being overtly disrespectful to each other. But too many have gotten the wrong message. The goal of respectful, assertive communication somehow got lost along the way.

And, in its wake are a generation of people who feel that everything is great if they do not express anger or frustration, who choose, instead, to suffer in silence, hold tension in their bodies or eat away the pain.

And every conversation that ends with unspoken thoughts, unresolved issues or communication that didn’t actually happen adds another brick in a wall that sits between people and robs the world of a team’s best efforts.

Willful control should not be the gold standard. I say we move the bar beyond putting on a brave face, wearing a mask and smiling through the hurt. Let’s aim higher and shoot, instead, for anger elimination!

There are a few simple techniques that can change your perspective or get you into action BEFORE there is a buildup of anger or resentment. Get it all out and resolved respectfully so there is nothing to “manage.”

If you are like a lot of my clients, implementing just these 3 important techniques will help you eliminate a lot of your anger:

    Reality-Check Your Assumptions: A quote my clients hear from me often is, “get out of the world of assumption!” When our feelings are based on what is imagined rather than on fact we can really get the creative juices flowing. And often the stories we create will drum up a lot of anger and frustration. Be aware of when you are in the realm of a created reality away from the world of fact. Rather than assume, go have a clarifying conversation. Ask questions, find out why. Things often look very different once you have the real information and the other person’s perspective.

    Pay Attention to Intent: I always recommend that my clients pay attention to people’s intentions. When we are unhappy with an outcome I will hazard to guess that, in most cases, it is not the result of malicious intent. Your dissatisfaction is just an unfortunate byproduct of another’s good intentions that were focused elsewhere. Even though it’s nice to believe, the world just doesn’t revolve around you at all times. And, if you assign mal-intent when none exists you are ramping up the anger without good reason. Tell yourself a different story.

    So, for instance, that project that was put on hold that you’d been working so hard on isn’t really an indication that your boss was trying to sideline your career. Perhaps the budget cuts in the department were the true cause. If you can look objectively at her intentions it will help you feel less angry. Story out, facts in.

    Speak Up as Issues Pop Up: If you are feeling uncomfortable about something, don’t like a decision, have an opinion, SPEAK UP! If you don’t give yourself a voice the little things will build and build. Soon you’ll have a volcano of emotion that will come out one way or another. At that point it’s even harder to speak up as you work to manage the build up! If, instead, you address the little things as they come there will be less to be frustrated about. Practice using your voice.

    Over the years I have lived by a rule that has helped me tremendously. I will not be angry with someone I have not shared my feelings with. So, if I have not spoken up and given someone the opportunity to factor in my opinions or perspective I do not have the right to be angry. I take responsibility for my silence. This helps me get into action or drop a hurt that isn’t worth my time or energy. Keep in mind, drop does not mean stuff!

Applying these three important techniques will eliminate a lot of your anger. If you need additional assistance contact me! I am on a mission to help people live the lives they were designed to live and anger elimination is one key ingredient to getting there!