May 8, 2012

A wise woman once told me, “You get to have all your emotions!” and it took me some time to understand what that really meant.  Not only is it our birthright to feel, it’s actually a true gift!  In fact, it’s a privilege to feel emotions.  No other species has the ability to feel like humans do, however anger can also be a double-edged sword.

Anger is one of the most misunderstood and unaccepted emotions of them all.

“Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.”  – Unknown

Common myths about anger include:  “You’re a ‘good’ person if you don’t get angry.” and “Anger is dangerous or scary.”  Unfortunately few of us had good role models when it came to anger.  We either saw the people in our lives suppressing their anger or they used anger to intimidate or they completely lost control in anger.  None of these is a healthy way to use anger.

Anger issues are a common leadership blind spot. Whether it’s the team leader who explodes unpredictably in the office or the manager who is being taken advantage of because he is unable to access anger as a fuel for standing up for himself or his team, unhealthy anger is insidious.

 “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”– Lyman Abbott

Emotions provide us with information.  When we feel angry, it’s a signal that proper boundaries should be maintained or built.  When anger shows up, we need to ask: “What must be protected?” “What must be restored?”, and take action accordingly.

The key is to find a healthy expression of the anger that we feel as quickly as possible when we feel it.  Sometimes we’re in a situation where it’s not appropriate to express our anger fully, like at work.  However, the sooner we can express our anger, the sooner we can get the learning from it and take action.  Some healthy ways to express anger include yelling and screaming in the car, punching a pillow, kicking and punching a punching bag, and beating the furniture with a foam bat.

Anger is useful. It motivates us; it gives us determination; it helps us feel our power; it allows us to set boundaries and stand up for ourselves.

I’d love to hear how anger shows up in your workplace and how you deal with it. Don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too, via the commentluv feature here on this site.

Until next time,




{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Download the Growth Mindset Manifesto below to access the Manifesto and get inspiring twice-monthly content in our Newsletter