How to manage anger on the job from Hendrie Weisinger.

Psychologist Hendrie Weisinger breaks down anger and how to manage it in this slender book.

Psychologist Hendrie Weisinger breaks down anger and how to manage it in this slender book.

Another quick work-related post today.

This one is about how to manage the inevitable sources of anger that arise at work, whether from ambitious co-worker, insensitive bosses or difficult customers. 

I’m not talking about the Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler film, but rather about Hendrie Weisinger’s Anger at Work: Leaning the Art of Anger Management on the Job.

This slender book provides a relatively useful framework to address these issues effectively.  A licensed psychologist, Weisinger talks the reader through anger and self-awareness before moving onto the five aspects of anger-cognition, emotions, communication, feelings and behavior-he deems worth examining before showing anger in action with all the attendant negative personal and professional consequences.

In addition to providing information about a dozen common anger triggers, Weisinger takes us through a doomsday scenario in which a worker’s inability to mange his anger issues leads to him yelling at his children, announcing plans for a divorce, wearing a coffee-stained shirts and being seen as incompetent by his boss after ignoring his assistant’s efforts to give him useful information.

While a bit extreme, this “case study” may elicit some knowing winces from a reader who has taken these actions, although hopefully not all on the same day!

The tools Weisinger suggest to manage one’s anger are familiar ones that include having an internal conversation that counters the negative self talk that arises in response to whatever sparked the anger, breathing, physically moving, and others.   As the example suggests, while he is focused most closely on work, many of the same principles apply at home, too.

Anger at Work is not groundbreaking stuff, but it is a reminder of the very real costs that can arise from the failure to successfully manage one’s emotions and a primer on some tools to help avoid them.   Although anger management may not be an art, as Weisinger asserts, it could help you maintain your job and stay in healthy and meaningful relationships.

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