Is your anger or your employee's anger out of control?

Today’s working environment can be a very stressful place indeed.  Very often, stress spills over into feelings of anger which can be directed at our coworkers, our bosses or our customers.  While anger is a normal emotion, how we deal with it and how we express it can become cause for concern if we find ourselves acting out inappropriately.  One way of learning how to cope with anger management issues is to seek help from a counsellor, psychologist or therapist who can help you learn better ways of expressing difficult and uncomfortable emotions and feelings. Anger management therapy has become a commonplace service used by industry and individuals to manage anger at work.   (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

How are stress, work and anger related?

Almost every workplace incorporates some level of stress. The stress may be due to interacting with customers, meeting deadlines, negative peer relationships, or simply having too much work to accomplish and not enough time. An additional stressor related to work that is especially present for many people today is the fear of retrenchment. Whatever your work situation is, there is sure to be some amount of stress that you experience on a daily basis.

There are many expectations when it comes to work performance and living up to these standards can be extremely stressful. Add to it difficult work relationships, and soon going to work can become an unpleasant experience. As the stress builds, so does our intolerance of annoyances and petty details that can occasionally come up as we interact with co-workers, supervisors and customers.
The more pressured we feel to perform when we do not feel supported or do not feel heard, the more likely we are to become angry.

Very often, poor communication is at the centre of feeling frustrated. Communication is a two-way process, with one party sending a message and the other party receiving the message and then responding. If we continue to attempt to communicate and the message is either not being received or is received, but distorted by the listener, then chances are we are much more likely to eventually become frustrated and angry.

When does workplace anger become a problem?

While everyone experiences anger at work at some point, the way in which we handle it determines whether or not it is a problem.  Some problematic behaviours include:

Angry Outbursts – Yelling and screaming at co-workers, customers and supervisors can be especially problematic, inappropriate, and often embarrassing.

Slamming, Hitting and Pushing – Reacting physically when we become angry or frustrated can not only result in damaging expensive business equipment, but can also result in automatic dismissal and even charges of assault.

Retaliation or Bullying – Retaliating against co-workers for real wrongs done against you (real or perceived) can take the form of undermining another’s work assignments, creating conflict with others or starting viscous rumors and engaging in office gossip. Retaliation is a form of bullying. Retaliation or bullying very often can create a hostile workplace environment and can even result in legal action in addition to disciplinary actions by supervisors. It can also cause others in your workplace great unhappiness and even fear.

Displaced Anger – Another substantial problem with work-related anger is displacing the anger on others who have nothing to do with the situation that is the cause of our anger.  Some people discover that they can hold their anger in at work, only to come home and take their frustration out on their spouses, children and other family members or friends.

What are solutions for workplace anger?

Resolving anger in the workplace is not something that occurs overnight. Working with a counsellor or psychologist on anger management issues can help you to resolve the anger management issues that stem from your workplace frustration and stress.

In many cases, a counsellor, psychologist or therapist can help you learn stress management techniques that will not only result in a reduction of stress-related symptoms, but also a significant reduction in angry episodes. Learning how to recognise the triggers that make you angry or the signals that tell us that we are angry can also be an important skill for anger management when it comes to our working lives.

Finally, one of the most significant issues a counsellor or therapist can help with is learning communication skills that can help reduce workplace conflict generally. Learning active listening skills can go a very long way to resolving workplace conflict. A psychologist or counsellor can teach you active listening skills such as:-

– how to reflect what someone else is saying,

– how to listen without anticipating the answers, and

– how to ask questions to elicit more helpful information

In addition to helping to avoid workplace conflict, strong active listening and communication skills can also improve your customer service and sales abilities.

How to seek help for workplace anger problems

A counsellor, psychologist or therapist may be able to help you or someone you know who is having problems with workplace anger or anger management issues.  They can teach you about stress management techniques, help you improve communication skills and uncover the underlying reasons for inappropriately expressed anger.  Many employers have Employee Assistance Programs which may enable you to access our counselling services as part of your employee benefits.

(This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

If you or someone you know is struggling with these or similar problems and would like to book a consultation with a qualified counsellor or psychologist, or you would like to obtain further advice please contact:

Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney

Company Managers may also wish to visit our Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) page to learn more about how easilly we can begin offering your workplace employee and staff counselling solutions.

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