This can be very difficult for some, especially in a fast-paced environment with a lot of pressure from upper management, but it is imperative you keep your anger at the door. Some looked at getting angry and out of control as a sign of power because that person would get things done and people would listen. But why? Because they are intimidated. They do not trust you, wouldn’t go to you with their problems, but rather shut down and do enough not to get yelled at or fired. It makes you appear weak and unstable. This is not what a leader does. A leader is supposed to be calm under stressful situations, be strong for the team, and be there to back them up; not yell and place blame. I struggle with this to be honest and here are some tips for how I keep my anger in check.
I know you have heard this before but breathing does help calm us down. When so much is raging through your mind, time constraints, pressure from your boss, hourly employees not performing, etc, it is difficult to see straight. When this happens, your body goes into that flight or fight mode and your instincts kick in and your logic goes out. This can be helpful in life or death situations when really you do not need to think and assess the situation so much but rather get away from the situation as fast as you can and then assess it. Sometimes you cannot get away from the situation, you have to acknowledge it, and even embrace it, but the only way you can do this, is to take deep breathes and calm yourself down. Get some oxygen to your brain so you can come back to reality and crush it.
Take that Step Back
Like previous posts, I have talked about taking a step back as a leader and re-evaluate the situation, see the forest beyond the trees, right? Well, this works in keeping your anger in check as well. When you are immersed in the heat of battle, it sweeps you away, and it is hard to control yourself; you may even lose your temper and patience. When you feel yourself getting to this point, feel yourself getting anxious and your heart rate is going through the roof, step back, re-evaluate what is truly going on, what everyone is doing, and make the moves. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and we think the situation is inescapable but it is not. I do this all the time; when it seems everything is going wrong in my operation, I step away from the focal point and see it as a whole and 9 times out of 10, I can move someone around or get help from another area to squash that opportunity.
I know it can be really hard to think positive when everything around you seems to be failing but you cannot throw your hands up and give up. Read my last sentence from the previous point. Notice how I use the word opportunity when talking about something failing in my area? That’s because I was always taught to view my failures as an opportunity to do better. You see this everywhere in leadership. You only learn by failing. Whenever someone from my team fails, they feel down, and they want to give up but I tell them no, you cannot, this is a learning experience, and you should be glad it happened. I always ask them, “You won’t do it again like that will you?” and it is always a no. Good. You learned from your mistakes and you are better because of them. Don’t get mad and point blame elsewhere. Take the blame, try something else, fail again, repeat, and grow. Coming in with a negative attitude, thinking today is going to be terrible, etc. sets the tone for your day. Come to work like that? I guarantee you will have a bad day because you made it that way. One of my best employees, no matter how stressful and bad the other shift left us, he is in high spirits and he has a good day regardless. He has mastered the art of staying positive and it shows in his team. That’s another point. Your team is not performing? Take a look in the mirror. Are you out there engaging them, moving fast with them, have high energy, or are you sluggish, miserable, complaining, and slow, etc? Because guess what? Your team is a reflection of you. Want to get mad at someone? Get mad at yourself.
As a leader, you have to be the bigger person, stay calm, stay strong, and be the example. If you are dragging yourself to work, your head down, complaining that everything is just going to be the same, it’s going to suck, guess what? It will until you make a change. I know it is hard to be a leader, it is not meant for everyone, but with hard work, habit changing, and a little self-growth, it is the most rewarding and fun positions to be in. You have to make the change, you have to make the effort, and you have to stay positive and focused. Be thankful for what you have because it won’t be there forever.