Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Anger Management: Having (and Maintaining) Control

Anger is a universal experience. We all get angry from time to time. All humans and animals experience the feeling of anger in different degrees, scenarios, environments and forms. The key to controlling anger is not to hide it, but to learn how to manage it. Managing anger productively is something few individuals, organizations and societies do well, yet those who find suitable strategies are much more productive and successful than those who can't seem to find the right approach.

When we look at a co-worker who can productively confront their associate about a negative attitude, we realize that this increases the team's chance of success as well as minimizes the risk of destructive conflict. The customer service agent who has the skills to defuse an angry customer will be successful in keeping loyalty and also make their day less troublesome. Organizations who have individuals working for them who can handle anger strategically will have a greater edge.

The goal of anger management should be to reduce your emotional feelings and the type of physiological stimulation that angry emotions provoke. To attempt to get rid of or avoid things or people who anger you is not realistic- but it is possible to learn to control what you do about it. Building a relationship and understanding with our emotions will allow us to manage them, rather than letting them manage us. Most of the time, our instincts will tell us to respond to anger aggressively. It is a natural way to respond when we feel threatened, and this is what inspires powerful feelings and behaviours which help us fight back when 'under attack'.

Self-awareness is a key element for managing your own anger. You must be able to identify when you are angry and what triggers are cues for when something is wrong. Expressing your anger in an assertive, but not aggresive, way is safe and healthy. In order to understand and develop the skills associated with anger management, think of anger as five interrelated dimensions which all operate simultaneously.

For example, what you think (thoughts) when you are angry influences how you feel (emotions). How you feel when you are angry influences how you communicate (ways). How you communicate affects how you think (experience), and how you think affects how you behave (act). When you put this in to your own perspective and understand how it relates to you, you will be able to work on the parts that need improving for yourself and become a better manager of your anger.

You might be asking yourself- what are my next steps for dealing with my anger and anxiety? We would tell you this: take some time to assess all of your interrelated dimensions of anger and identify where there are gaps. Which dimension do you find yourself getting stuck in more often than others? Once you are able to identify the gaps within yourself, start exploring which techniques might work best for you to try when controlling your stress in heated situations.

What have you found works best for you when controlling and maintaining your feelings of anger?

Friday, 17 May 2013

The True Role of a Leader

We all know and have leaders in our life. Whether they are a public figure, a mentor, an associate or a friend, they all have one thing in common: they are effective in all of their efforts. When we think about the definition of leading, we think first-mover, being proactive and consistently being ahead of the curve. What we may not realize is that all individuals who posess leadership abilities also have an innate ability to do one thing better than others which is what truly classifies them as leaders- and that is to inspire.

Many think that the role of a leader is to motivate. This is partly true, however, when we look at leadership from a progressive point of view it is clear to see that through motivation comes inspiration. Motivation comes from within, when inspiration is simply external efforts which help to drive internal motivations. Through effective inspiration comes great motivation- to do, to believe and to achieve. If you are in a management position and your consistent efforts to motivate don't seem to be working- try a different approach, and focus on being your team's inspiration to become more internally motivated. If organizations want their teams to start thinking and performing at much higher levels than they currently are, all leaders must implement strategies that increase overall associate well-being and comfort within their roles.

As a leader, your role is also to be an effective communicator. This role should be based on your skill and ability to listen constructively, question skillfully, and to coordinate the contributions of each individual who is part of your team. Every leader will develop their own style and approach to doing things. As leaders, sometimes expectations can be very high. In order to experience higher job satisfaction, expectations should be decreased. This will help you to get a better grasp on how you are inspiring your team to work collectively and achieve common goals, all while becoming more internally motivated to perform at higher levels.

Think about the leaders in your life. Do they inspire you to reach your full potential?