It’s not a good idea to make any important decision when angry!

Are you having a bad day at work? The workload and pressure might be at an all-time high. It’s a particularly stressful period. Maybe you have some unrealistic deadlines. Your boss is an idiot! A colleague isn’t pulling their weight. And you’ve had enough! STOP! Don’t quit your job when angry!

Most of us will experience the ‘bad’ day at work. It happens. You don’t have control over every aspect at work and stuff happens. Before you explode and put your job at risk or damage your reputation, there are some things you can do.

Life is 10% what happens to you. 90% how you react to it. Charles Swindoll

Take a break

Try to recognise when you need to take some time away from your desk.  All too often when we are up against tight deadlines we don’t stop. We keep going as time is always against us. The workload takes priority.  And the problem is when the high workload in constant and continuous.

The level of intensity is difficult to sustain long-term without having a negative impact on your physical, social, and mental health.

Recognise the early warning signs of getting stressed or angry or frustrated. Mind the mental health charity has a great article that lists some tips and techniques for Managing Outbursts. Catching these early signs will help you manage situations much more positively.

Leave some space

Taking a break will allow some time between the stimulus and your response. So, take a walk around the block and don’t feel you have to react immediately. If you react immediately to a situation it tends to be emotional and not logical.

Viktor Frankl “Leave some space between the stimulus and your response.”

Give yourself some time out or some headspace to consider the next steps. Buying yourself some time will make a huge difference. When we get emotional it’s here and now. We tend not to think about the longer-term consequences. A kind of ‘don’t care’ attitude kicks in.

Therefore, giving yourself some time to think through your reaction and response will be time well spent.  You may still feel angry about a particular situation or event; however, you’ve taken yourself out of the red mist.

You’ll be in a much better position to present the facts rather than rant or shout! Ranting and shouting is never good in business.

Lean Management

Some companies deliberately under resource to avoid people getting paid to sit there doing nothing. So, there are going to be some peaks and troughs in the workload! The company’s that under staff by design do so to keep their talented individuals motivated and engaged.

There aren’t many career orientated individuals that enjoy falling asleep at their desks.  Apple, for example, keeps its highly talented individuals motivated by keeping the pace of work high.  There is a business reason for high workloads and the fast pace of change in business.

If you are familiar with the concept of lean management, then you’ll understand the prime drivers for Apple’s extraordinary employee productivity.  For years, the leadership of Apple has followed the philosophy that having less is more, meaning that by purposely under-staffing and operating with reduced funding, you can make the team more productive and innovative.

Identify the triggers

Try to understand what’s made you react the way you did. Is it a personality clash? Has your relationship broken down with your manager? Is it a particularly demanding or challenging client? 

Once you’ve identified what the triggers are at work, you can then start looking at the potential solutions.  If you tend to get angry when you are tired or stressed, then you can start to put actions in place to avoid or at least reduce this happening.  Ensure you regulate the amount of sleep and your sleeping pattern. Reduce the amount of overtime you do during the evenings and weekends.  It can be counterproductive to keep going at full speed. 

  • Keep your manager informed of high workloads and talk through priorities.  Most managers will appreciate you keeping them in the loop and would rather have an early conversation then manage a bigger issue later on.
  • Having difficult conversations with clients to manage their expectations earlier will be far better than letting them down or not fulfilling commitments.
  • Try to consider how the other person or parties are feeling about the situation. Taking their perspective on things is challenging but try to be objective and take out the emotional element.

When you are taking someone else’s position in the situation you really need to be them – not you in their shoes – be that person, with their work demands and restraints, the pressures of their position in the business, their characteristics, values, responsibilities, etc.

Take Responsibility

Take responsibility for the part you play in all situations; your reactions and behaviour. Most of us will claim we do take full responsibility. But do we? Do you recognise any of the following?

  • ‘Relationships are 50-50…’
  • ‘It wasn’t my fault…’
  • ‘I’m always right….’
  • ‘That’s so unfair…’
  • ‘It’s all my fault…’
  • ‘This is a waste of my time…’

Taking responsibility is a leadership characteristic. And you don’t have to be a leader to demonstrate leadership skills. Leadership isn’t a job role; It’s an attitude. It’s emotional intelligence. 

So, if you regularly sulk, blame others or yourself, justify negative behaviour or simply ignore situations you are not taking responsibility.

Think of someone that has inspired you recently.  It can be someone in business or a celebrity.  Reflect on how they would behave in the same situation.  Ask yourself, would they throw their toys out of the pram? Would they get angry if things weren’t going as planned? Do you think they would point the finger at someone else?

No, probably not if they were widely considered an inspirational leader. Things don’t always go to plan particularly in business and as a result, you’ll need to be highly adaptable.  Things will get in the way from A to B.  Take Gareth Southgate OBE, for example.  He was widely respected for his role as England’s National Team Manager.  Much loved for his leadership style and making players well-being a priority. He coached them to the semi-finals and for that won BBC Sports Personality of the Year – Coach of the Year Award.

How you bounce back from failure is a good indicator of your strength and determination as a potential leader.” – James Reed. 

Prevention is the best medicine

Putting yourself and health first will have a positive impact on your ability to cope and handle situations. We all need to draw on good resources to help us get through the ups and downs of life and work.

  • Regulate your sleeping pattern
  • Eat well and often (snack on healthy foods)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise regularly
  • Make time for relaxation
  • Talk to your manager and colleagues
  • Pursue your hobbies and interests
  • Take holidays and learn to switch off from work

Don’t quit your job when anger, consider the following:

  • Take a break and get away from the desk
  • Go for a walk around the block
  • Leave some space between the stimulus and your response
  • Take time to reflect objectively on the situation
  • Talk to a trusted colleague and get some perspective
  • Think of an inspirational leader and how they would behave
  • Consider the longer-term consequences