18 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

grrr angry

Someone is stupid mad angry. They are venting, ranting and carrying on for seemingly forever about something they’re particularly upset about.

Let them. Shut up and listen and let the person blurt it all out.

Why?

Something is wrong. It really does not matter if you agree with their viewpoint or not. Equally, even if you personally cannot see anything wrong – something is still wrong.

Nobody becomes angry for kicks and giggles. Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure caused by some type of grievance that is either real or perceived to be real by a person.

Anger is an internal reaction that is perceived to have a external cause and it is caused by a combination of two factors:
- an irrational perception of reality (“It has to be done my way”) and
- a low frustration point (“It’s my way or no way”).

Being angry or frustrated is just like being under the influence of a drug. It prevents you from rationalizing and thinking logically.

Rather than attacking the angry person head on (as this will only ever multiply the anger), let them express their anger. Listen and absorb what they are saying with the internal recognition that there is a degree of irrationality to what you are hearing. However, in listening hunt for the main external points that are causing the negative emotions.

Once you’ve picked up the causes of the anger from listening, do not try to solve anything. Instead wait a while. Anger cannot be diffused immediately.

When the dust has settled start to work on the causes of real or perceived concerns (notice I did not call it an issue – issues are much more real than concerns). In doing so never ever talk about the causes in personal terms (no ‘you did’ or ‘you should have’). Talk about resolution in the context of the environment, the company, the situation or the processes. Dehumanize any sources of subjective judgement (like humans!).

Now, with rationality restored, work towards sorting out solutions that will repair the sources of frustration.

Once the storm has passed avoid holding any grudge against the person who was angry. Recognize that something was wrong (real or perceived, it’s still wrong) and everyone is better for having listened to and addressed the concerns.

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