First Psychology Assistance

Anger Management

Anger and aggression are sometimes accepted as masculine traits that demonstrate strength and dominance. However expressions of anger, particularly through aggression, can be extremely harmful to working relationships and team unity. It is therefore important to work with an aggressive employee (male or female) and support them while they learn to change their behaviour for the common good.

What causes anger

There are lots of reasons why people feel angry. Often anger follows on from other emotions such as jealousy or embarrassment.

Hormones - High levels of the hormone testosterone (i.e. in men) have been linked to aggressive behaviour, but this is very controversial. Not all men are aggressive, so other factors need to be taken into account.

Frustration - Frustration can build up if there is no outlet, such as a sounding board or physical activity, and sometimes angry feelings come out as aggression.

Social situations - Certain situations seem to lend themselves to a build up of anger and aggression. For example, crowd situations are common places where emotions run high and pressure can build with peers joining in.

Alcohol - There's a strong link between alcohol and aggression. Alcohol reduces self control and makes us more likely to ignore social rules. This means we may act aggressively when we'd normally walk away.

Dealing with anger and aggression in the workplace

The key to dealing with anger and aggression in the workplace is making people aware of their actions and how they may be perceived by others. It is important for employees to learn to recognise the physical and mental signals of anger, such as an increased heart-rate, rising tension, and feeling out of control.

Anger management therapy

Anger management therapy is a process that helps employees learn to take ownership of their anger and find new ways to deal with it. People often believe that anger is external to them - situations or other people make them angry. It is therefore important to realise that how individuals respond to situations is a personal thing that can be changed. Once an employee has taken ownership of their anger, the next step is for them to learn to understand and tackle their feelings in a constructive way.

Common anger management strategies

Taking a step back: Often when someone learns to step back and think rationally about why they are angry in certain situations, they can learn to take control of their feelings and look for other ways of dealing with these situations.

Identifying vulnerable situations: Employees may find they are more vulnerable to giving in to their anger in certain situations. It is important therefore to recognise these vulnerable situations and learn new ways to cope with them.

Walking away: Although it is not always possible, particularly in the workplace, taking time out to calm down is often better than letting anger take over and develop into aggression. For an employee who is learning to manage anger more effectively, an important part of the process is learning to recognise building feelings of anger early and taking some time away from the situation.

Verbalise anger: Part of the anger management process will involve finding positive ways to express feelings of anger. Often an employee who feels angry will benefit from calmly discussing why they feel this way with the other person/people involved. This process can help the others see things from a different perspective and gives them a chance to change their behaviour too.

Contact us for further information

If you would like further information about our anger management services, please contact us.