Anger Management in the Workplace

Do you get angry in the workplace?  Are your clients driving you nuts?

Managing anger is a healthy tool and a developing skill for most (yours truly included) – and while the tendency may be to procrastinate on a program of developing healthy approaches, you may be setting a time bomb for a suit over your workplace conditions.

Meditation and candle gazing may work for some, but what about something “practical” during the day while managing stressful projects?  Some things to try include a few deep breaths, imagining the beach or a memory from your last vacation, count to ten (or twenty!!), or walk around the block.  Do I do any of these?  No.Some things more constructive I have found are the following:

a. Sit down with my office policy manual and work at what steps can be taken when this same stressor arises in the future.  If you don’t have such a manual, now is the time to work with your general counsel to develop one.

b. Grade your clients.  That’s right.  Grade them from A to F.  You will find your D and F clients are the source of most of the anger in your firm because of the stress they place on you with unreasonable demands and of course slow or non-payment.Then, draft your letter, with your general counsel’s help, terminating the relationship if possible, or if not, at least setting them on a course for finding your replacement.Your stress will decrease, your happiness will increase, and you will make more money and perform better services for the A and B clients you want to keep.

c. When you do have the most anger – is there a particular time of day, client or type of project?  Any patterns at all can be helpful.  Then spend a few minutes drafting a solution or even a step towards a solution.Deep breathing and proactive measures are not a panacea.  But, if practiced over time, they may provide some improvement.  If not go ahead and yell at us!

A general counsel whom you have on a monthly retainer primed to think proactively like this may have just saved your firm…or your life!