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Monday, April 21, 2014

Anger Management

Who can forget the torturous experience actor Adam Sandler witnessed in the movie Anger Management? (Well, I guess anyone who missed seeing the film can forget it.) As a refresher, Sandler becomes very annoyed at a fellow passenger’s behavior on an airplane flight. The passenger is played by Jack Nicholson.

The situation on the plane escalates to the point where Sandler must be subdued. He is sent to anger management classes, much to his frustration and amazement. The experience gets worse for Sandler’s character when he discovers the class instructor is the annoying passenger from his plane ride!

If you’ve not seen the film, I won’t spoil the rest of the story. Throughout the movie, I felt a steady uneasiness wanting the unwarranted treatment of Sandler to get resolved positively. Which it did…in the end.

I thought about this recently when reading an article by Rebekah Campbell, the chief executive of Posse. It was titled, “No More Ms. Nice Guy.”

Here are some of her thoughts:

“Back in school, I was the good girl who enjoyed her role as teacher’s favorite. When I started my first business in 2001, I acted in much the same way: Little Miss Perfect who worked hard to ensure that clients, colleagues, and partners all liked her. I thrived on positive feedback and placed everyone’s interests ahead of my own. I suspect that this need for praise and harmony is more prevalent in women; it feels like the way my instincts are wired.”

Ms. Campbell then shares a very difficult situation with a board member over which she had significant disagreement. Her efforts to find a “nice solution” were unproductive. She was very frustrated. Probably angry. Seemingly justified in her feelings. After getting counsel, she made a determined stand and revealed a true spine. It worked. Her business life was changed.

We often view anger that derives from great frustration to be a negative. But anger can have very positive consequences, and is a totally appropriate human emotion, when viewed properly and acted upon responsibly.

Bestselling author Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages) has written an excellent book on anger. It is titled, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. Read up on this if anger is an emotion you need to better understand.

Many issues in the workplace can cause us frustration. Unresolved frustration can lead us to anger. Unresolved anger can defeat us and sometimes take dangerous turns. Witness the recent Ft. Hood killings!

The Bible has many things to say about anger. Among the most quoted is, “Be angry, but do not sin.” And it is followed by another important statement: “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4:26) Truly this is easier said than done. However, learning to master this emotion may be one of the most important things to do to make you effective in the workplace.

And remember this important word: goosefraba. Why? I have no idea.

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