CHRONIC ANGER AT THE WORKPLACE
Workplace Anger Continues to Rise
Workplace bullies do their dirty work in all sorts of ways. Some are more subtle others are more direct, blatant, or even obnoxious. Whatever the tactic, workplace bullies can inflict high emotional pain and suffering on their coworkers.
People’s grievances about work stress are nothing new. However, their complaints about being chronically angry and frustrated in their place of work appear to be on the rise and unfortunately, this is becoming a common problem for many employees. Research shows show that the percentage of workers who experience anger at their workplace is rising. In fact, a recent Gallup poll indicates that the rate of employees, who report some anger at work, has sharply increased from 49% to 60%, in just one year.
The causes for such a skyrocketing jump are multiple but most experts blame the changing nature of the workplace as a major contributor. In other words, with rapid advances in technology and marketing approaches including the Internet, and the artificial intelligence, there are more demands for speed and efficiency.
That translates into more pressure on the workers to perform, but, at the same time, there is less and less job security in the face of rapid automation and technological advances. Such pressures combined with other mounting stresses of everyday life from traffic to violence to concerns about child-care or their schooling, make employees more anxious, frustrated, and angry.
For most people, going to work, involves having to deal with other people and naturally, since we do not live in a perfect world not everybody think and act the same way or are in harmony with each other. Thus, conflicts and tension are inevitable.
Such conflicts need to be resolved and tension should be removed. Because, first of all, by working cooperatively together you can accomplish more and at the same time lower your workload. Also, most importantly, chronic anger carries serious health risks.
When angry people repeatedly show strong anger reactions it can have damaging effects on their interpersonal relations and as well as their own health, i.e. high blood pressure, coronary diseases, etc.
On the other hand, when they suppress their anger, it can harm them physically and emotionally and since they will eventually show their inhibited anger indirectly, it can further harm their interpersonal relations.
That means, unless you learn to express your anger constructively or resolve the underlying issues, no matter which of the above response behaviors you choose, you end up harming yourself and your relations with other.
The fact that work stress continues to rise, means that you need to equip yourself to deal with it efficiently and properly.
To find out how successful you are at managing your anger at work imagine yourself in the following situations and answer if you would react the same way or not:
1. You miss a promotion that you badly wanted. That night you cannot sleep as usual. Because you keep thinking why it happened or what did you do wrong.
2. You are criticized by your boss who asks you to do a job over again. You become angry and without even asking your boss specifically, how to correct it, you go back to your desk. Your day is ruined and you have a headache.
3. One of your subordinates is frequently late. Instead of talking to her right away, you wait for several days, until; you cannot control yourself anymore and have an anger outburst.
4. You hear that a colleague has been talking against you behind your back. Instead of confronting her you stop talking to her.
5. The colleague that works next to your desk speaks loudly to others and disrupts your concentration. Rather than asking him to lower his voice, you ask your boss to move your desk to another area.
6. Your boss humiliates you before others over something you did or said wrongly. For the rest of the day, you confined yourself to your room and avoid talking to others about the situation.
7. Your computer keeps malfunctioning; you call the technical support and scream at them on the phone.
8. You feel that your boss is reprimanding you more than you deserve and you feel upset about this almost everyday. But, you always maintain a good front and never talk to him about it.
If your total yes answers to above the examples is no more than 3, you are managing your anger at work well. If your score is about 4 or 5, you have moderate anger problems that need to be resolved. However, if your score is 6 or higher, you have serious anger problems at work.
In the next article we will examine specific ways of handling your work anger appropriately. We will also examine the gender differences.