Anger is a strong emotion that can be healthy or toxic – YOU Decide.
As a Leader – anger can enable you to achieve great things. It can fuel your ambitions, ignite your brainstorming, your creativity, and your ability for problem solving. Anger can be used constructively and aid in your understanding of others. It can help you reduce and or resolve conflicts and make you more willing to accept risks. All of these can have a positive impact on you, your team, and your organization. Anger, when used for positive purpose can fuel your optimism and move you in the direction of what you want to achieve.
Anger can bring about Change. Anger can motivate without causing harm.
Aristotle said, “the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.”
As a Leader – the danger of anger (remember, everyone is the leader of their own lives) is when the anger turns into explosive aggression. For anger creates opportunity for the “win” without destroying the opposition. Explosive aggression is destructive, and too often results in verbal and or physical harm being projected onto others.
It results in dangerous and harmful actions and takes the focus away from the originating issues and places it squarely on the action of aggression – yielding the opposite effect of the intention behind the anger. The anger is no longer healthy. The anger is no longer motivational.
The anger is explosive, aggressive, harmful, toxic, and the impact longer lasting than the emotion. Removed are the issues sparking the anger whose intent was to encourage change. Replaced instead by the acts of aggression that overshadow the issues and thwart the opportunity for real and lasting change. Instead of resolving the original problem, other problems have now gained center stage, all the focus, and all the resources. Leaving less energy, less opportunity, and less likelihood of positive resolution impacting the original change desired in a timely manner.
As a Leader – explosive aggression has the opposite effect of anger. For example – Steve Jobs strategically used explosive anger to extract high level performance from his team. He was phenomenally successful at first, but the anger when turned to aggression lost its impact and became a detriment to his effectiveness as a leader.
According to Harvard psychologist Jennifer Lerner, “research provides evidence that the most adaptive and resilient individuals have highly flexible emotional response systems. They are neither chronically angry nor chronically calm. Anger is good so long as you keep the flame low.”
As a Leader – consider how you have been allowing anger to influence your leadership style and performance. Take notice where there is opportunity for change, to be and act differently, and to affect others more positively.
As a Leader – if your style has been aggression over anger, take note of the costs versus the benefits.