Let’s talk about anger! When leaders act out of anger in reaction to others, people feel it and it negatively permeates the work environment.
So when anger swells up inside you, follow the suggested response by Thich Nhat Hanh from his writings in Teachings on Love.
- Take a few minutes and begin your mindful breathing.
- Say to yourself, “”Breathing in, I know I am angry. Breathing out, I know that the anger is in me.”
- Recognize the anger as an emotion of yours, nonjudgmentally, and then look deeply to see the source. “Why am I angry?”
- Learn to touch the positive seeds that lie within you, and also the seeds of suffering to understand their nature – their root causes.
Hahn suggests that if we understand the roots of our suffering in this manner, our heart becomes peaceful and calm. We have transformed our reactionary anger to one of acceptance and understanding for ourselves. But, you may also discover is that you are not the only one suffering. The person(s) who triggered your anger is suffering too. Recognizing this will also lessen your anger. This will open up your heart and mind to what is the true source of your anger and compassion for the other person.
So, as a leader, or for anyone, when anger builds up, take a pause. Begin mindful breathing and look deeply to see the source of your anger. Then, choose a response that is less reactive with recognition that the person who triggered your anger may be suffering, too. Be the role model that you want others to be in your work environment – a mindful leader.