Have you ever seen a leader get upset and slam a door? Or start yelling for no reason at all? When you see it happen all you can think is, “Was that really necessary?” The answer is always no. Have you ever found yourself raising your voice and hurting someone’s feelings because you were angry about something completely unrelated to the person you hurt? The answer is yes. The answer is yes because it happens to all of us. If you’re human, you have experienced those moments when your own emotions came through as anger to someone in front of you who didn’t deserve the wrath.
Your thoughts and emotions create the energetic frequencies you put into the world, and they create your reality. The reality you create has the power to harm or delight everyone around you. If you, or anyone in the business, show up like an angry bird during feeding time, that energy creates discomfort, frustration, and hurt for everyone. Remember, we’re all energetically connected. Our thoughts and emotions have significant power over others, whether we want them to or not. The emotion of anger multiples tenfold, and it creates unhealthy energy for everyone. Unhealthy anger stalls performance, accelerates reactive emotion, and creates paralyzing fear throughout the business. Do you really want a bunch of angry birds flying around?
We are all prone to anger—both the giving of it and the receiving of it. No one wants to walk around angry all the time, nor do we want to be around anyone else who’s angry all the time. Now here’s the reality: Our world—that includes you and everyone else—is suffering from the human energy crisis, and when people are energy-depleted, exhausted, and burned out, they lose control of their thoughts and emotions. As a result, people have become irritable and angry at the world. When people are exhausted, they start swimming in self-pity, feel like a failure, and start showing their worst selves to everyone. When exhausted, people become filled with self-sabotaging thoughts and emotions that create even more internal anger. Then we get angry with ourselves for showing our worst. Shame kicks in. So we bury the shame deep inside ourselves, where we keep all the other shameful moments, and the anger cycle continues. This is not about justifying anger; it’s about naming the cause.
Anger fuels destructive body language, disbands open communication and trust, and will suck all personality out of a business— say goodbye to healthy energy and a place where people want to work. Anger will turn productive collaboration into false acts of participation, and teamwork into obligation. Anger can be silent and deadly, or loud and degrading. Either way, the negative energy it creates will suffocate your business. Anger, if it does not turn productive, will fuel Machiavellian political techniques throughout all levels of the business and create energetic lung cancer for everyone.
Here’s the beauty: We all get angry, and anger can actually be fantastic. When it’s under control, anger is often the emotion that leads to great positive change. For example, people can get angry that chemicals are being dumped in the ocean, and then that anger can turn into a powerful conservation act. We can get angry that someone treated us poorly, and that anger can propel us to stand up for our own truth. Anger can be beautiful and powerful when it’s acknowledged for what it is—an emotion ignited by fear. Anger is healthy when it becomes the bridge between fear and courage, used to incite forward motion toward a better existence.
The secret to turning anger into positive change is to be mindfully aware—a value trait of high-character leaders. This is not just a leadership communication skill, this is an everyone communication skill. Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg can help with that. He is the founder of The Center for Nonviolent Communication and the creator of a technique called Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a powerful technique used in more than 60 countries for peacefully resolving differences at personal, professional, and political levels. NVC teaches people how to use mindful communication.
Anger can be healthy. Healthy anger is driven through the practice of mindfulness. If leaders in your business are showing up with anger repeatedly, and not taking responsibility by moving forward with positive intent, your business needs to leverage the NVC technique, and your leaders need to get functional. If they don’t, then your business will continue to circulate toxic energy and you’ll have angry birds everywhere.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.