While anger and confidence may seem like strange bedfellows, there is a connection that can make you more effective in your dealings with others.
By and large the expression of anger is frowned upon. We don’t like being the target of anger. Nor do we feel very good about ourselves when we lash out at others with anger.
The reality is that there are times when anger is not only appropriate, but essential. If a person attacks me personally and I don’t get angry, I encourage further attacks. In this situation, anger will help me avoid future problems with this individual…if I use it wisely and with confidence.
Bullying continues when we fail to get angry enough to intervene.
Personal attacks on our character, credibility or person get perpetuated when we fail to get angry enough to draw a line in the sand and say “No more!”
People continue to lie and mislead us if we don’t get angry enough to confront their duplicity.
During negotiations, unreasonable behaviors are perpetuated when we don’t get angry enough to tell the other party they’re being unreasonable and that their behavior won’t be tolerated.
Anger is essential in dealing with these kinds of situations, but anger must be controlled. The greater your level of confidence in your abilities, the more likely you are to use anger wisely.
Controlled use of anger
Generally, I do not to express my anger as anger. Instead, I ask questions that enable the other person to see the ramifications of their behavior. When they discover how they’re hurting themselves with their behavior, it’s much easier for them to change that behavior.
I’ll ask questions like “What kind of reaction did you get when you [behavior]? Was it the response you’d hoped to get? If not, how could you have approached it differently to get the result you desired?”
These types of questions make it easier for the other party to move forward more effectively and more quickly…without you having to utter one word in anger.
Diffusing others’ anger
When you’re the target of anger, a good approach is to suppress your anger by reminding yourself that the cool head prevails. As my friend, Mark Brimer of Office Supply Solutions, says nothing frustrates someone who’s trying to pick a fight more than a person who refuses to fight. You can’t avoid the initial flush of anger, but you can, as Mark suggests, set it aside and refuse to fight knowing that this strategy leaves the other person powerless.
Another use of controlled anger is simply stating your position firmly, without rancor, to make clear what your position is and what you’ll tolerate and not tolerate. Your statement should be made calmly and firmly enough to let the other person know they’ve moved you to the brink of anger.
When all else fails
It’s rare, but there have been times when I’ve tried all of the above and failed to get the desired result. In these rare instances I have lashed out angrily, but intentionally. My goal was to move the person out of their comfort zone. In essence, to hit them with the proverbial 2”x4”.
I did this with the intent of apologizing later for my outburst. My apology is sincere and my demeanor calm and firm. This is a last resort strategy for me. I use it only when more reasoned and considerate approaches failed to result in a behavior change that made moving forward with the individual (group) possible.
For you and your kids
My friend, Leisa Jenkins, an exceptionally talented coach, introduced me to the Disney movie, Inside Out, which offers tremendous insights into the various emotions we experience and how each emotion affords us both benefits and limitations.
Watch the movie with your kids, then ask them what they learned from the movie. After they’ve expressed what they learned, share what you learned. By allowing them to go first you credit them with intelligence and insight. You learn more about how they look at life and you’ll know what questions to ask them if their perception is off a bit.
Allowing them to go first, also gives them a sense that what they think and have to say is important which strengthens your bond with them.
Finally, because you listened to them they’re more likely to listen to what you say and embrace what you’re telling them.
All of this is enhanced by the fact that it’s a really fun movie. Enjoy!
Interestingly, I had no idea when I wrote this blog post that the next date on my posting schedule was 9/11. Yet I can’t imagine a more fitting time for this message. I can’t help but believe that God, or the Universe, had a hand in the creation of this message on this date.