Why great managers embrace their anger

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

In today's office environment, showing an emotion like anger or frustration may be seen as a personal flaw. You may assume that, as a professional, you must swallow your emotions and remain calm and rational at all times. But as an article on Inc.com recently illustrated, bottling up your emotions can actually hold you back.

According to a new study by Henry Evans and Colm Foster, emotional intelligence experts and authors of Step Up: Lead in Six Moments That Matter, the highest performers acknowledge and express their full range of emotions. Famously feisty managers Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Jeff Besos were notorious for their tempers, but proved to be successful leaders. Evans and Foster argue that these leaders were ahead of their time, and that anger can be put to good use.

As you may have noticed, anger tends to focus you on a single task, most commonly the source of your anger. When you're feeling frustrated, you're less likely to be distracted with multitasking, and concentration comes easily. Anger can also give you a boost in confidence, reducing your inhibitions and forcing you to take action. The adrenaline that comes with a flash of anger can help you overcome any tendency to procrastinate.

However, this does not mean that all angry managers are good managers. The key to capitalizing on positive aspects of anger is to make sure you that you are always in control. Anger should always be directed at an action or event, never at an employee. A proper focus allows you to express your frustration without the employee feeling belittled or defensive.

Great leaders are personable, understanding and authentic. Employees can tell when their manager is experiencing negative emotions, and masking or suppressing these feelings can create divisions within the team.

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