My Anger & Learning to Listen
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I am currently serving as a senior manager at an engineering company, and the environment is very high-pressured. Due to the inherent pressures of our business, I often find that I approach a meltdown, and I tend to focus my anger upon my subordinates during the day and my family when I come home. Of course I realize that my anger is often unwarranted, but the irrational aspect of anger is something that we are all familiar with. My anger seems to come up very easily, and this pattern began a long time before I worked in my current company, where I have a memory of feeling small things that tick me off and cause my anger to erupt, which has led me to hurting people’s feelings.
A Position of Authority
Since I am in a position of authority, the total responsibility of my department’s productivity rests on my shoulders, and I am the only person who must answer to my supervisor. When my team made any serious errors I would become irritated in a matter of seconds and would sometimes feel the urge to kill those people who made a mistake – Sometimes they would be fired. Generally, when I experience anger, the tone of my voice rises, and I don’t think before I speak – Everything just floods out of my mind, and I stop listening to anything my colleagues want to share with me. Furthermore, I sometimes won’t think about the people who are standing in front of me, which has caused serious problems with my relationships.
There came a point where I needed to decide how to repair my relationships as my colleagues would only speak with me about strictly work related matters, avoided conversation with me during tea breaks, and were not interested in sharing anything about themselves with me. At this stage I recognized that I needed to make a shift, so I decided that I would strive to no longer lose my temper. During the beginning of this process I decided to keep track of the situations that would trigger my anger, and I documented each of my flare-ups without providing excuses for my behavior. This strategy was designed to assist me with identifying the early signs of anger so that I could train myself to move out of those patterns. Every day I decided to begin my morning by reminding myself that my objective was to avoid becoming angry and to practice patience. Through controlling my thoughts I was able to learn how to control my emotions.
One of my friends suggested that I participate in an anger management course, but I chose to handle the situation independently. Through tracking my behavior I was able to identify a variety of areas for self-improvement, where I created a list of events and made a check-mark next to those triggers that precipitated a state of anger. I discovered that I often experienced a flare-up of anger when I did not achieve my desired results, when I was in a hurry, or when I was tired. Over time I began to make changes to my behavior, and my colleagues noticed. I began to listen to my staff and allowed them to share their perspectives without interrupting them, and although I did not feel that I was making tremendous progress, my co-workers reported a substantial shift. As I began to read more books on self-development, attitude, etc, I decided to take a brief leave of absence from my position in order to spend more time with my family, which assisted me with relieving some stress. Meanwhile, I took the time to connect with my colleagues and arranged for frequent meetings and friendly chats during tea breaks. I initiated conversations so that staff would step forward to share their thoughts with me, and since making these shifts I have observed a positive shift in my staff’s performance.
I suppose that the lesson is this: When we begin to recognize the fact that we do not always get what we want in the precise way that we want it, we can choose to relax and work with the situation more intelligently. My anger led to unhappiness, and practicing patience enhanced my quality of life, so taking steps to mitigate anger is an absolute must.