Marketing / Communication skills

Anger management: Don’t take that tone with me

We’ve all been on the receiving end of spiky remarks or emails laced with venom. It’s not pleasant, but can anger in business be effective? Here we look at the issue of anger management.

26 September 2011 by

Everyone talks about the benefits of bringing your true self to work and having a real passion for what you do.

This is all well and good when it comes to expressing positive emotions and behaviours such as excitement, energy, initiative, praise, love, hope and generally being pumped up.

But strong emotions cut both ways. Inevitably there’ll be swings towards frustration, anger, lack of motivation, disappointment, stress and conflict.

Almost all the stories about high-flying business leaders that I have read include legendary tales of their tantrums and battles from people whose toes have been trodden on along the way.

Ruthlessness is often seen as part of the cut and thrust of the business world – particularly in traditionally male dominated sectors where alpha males lock horns and compare measurements before doing whatever it takes to win the war.

"Strong emotions cut both ways. Inevitably there’ll be swings towards frustration, anger, lack of motivation, disappointment, stress and conflict."

“It’s not personal, it’s business!” is the widely accepted excuse for poor behaviour.

Want more articles like this? Check out the  communication skills section.

I’m not prone to flare ups, but any time I have let frustration or anger come across in my communications at work I’ve regretted it without fail. On the receiving end, I’ve found most outbursts of anger are quickly followed by a retraction and an apology. Seems a pointless cycle.

But can you expect to enjoy the fire of passion without occasionally getting burnt? Maybe there is a place for thumping the table and getting your point across in no uncertain terms. No doubt there are many situations in business where anger is well deserved.

What do you think about anger management? Stiff upper lip or stamp your feet?  Grin and bear it or speak your mind?

If you don’t have something nice to say, say it anyway in the comments.

Peter Crocker

is a director of Flying Solo responsible for marketing and advertising. As a business copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He’s the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited – How to go it alone in business.

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