The best managers can keep their cool

Keeping cool Most of us strive to be calm, composed professionals on the job. But some of us, in spite of our good intentions, have lost our cool at the office at least once.

Though it would be nice if we could just turn off our anger switch at work, trainer Rhonda Finniss says that anger is part of human nature. It can’t be eliminated. Finniss, who leads workshops on handling anger in the workplace, offers these suggestions to help you manage your emotions:

Separate facts from emotion. When a situation triggers your temper, step back from it and distinguish the facts. Write down what an objective observer would see in the situation. Focus on understanding and responding to the facts instead of to your perceptions. Often you’ll gain a realistic perspective of what’s going on.

Deal with anger as it happens. Timing is where most people have difficulty, Finniss says. They’ve never been taught to deal effectively with anger so they handle it in unproductive ways—often by bottling it up until they explode. Handling anger as it happens will help you to avoid the unhealthy simmer-explode syndrome.

Talk it out. Finniss says that it is important to have a mentor or other person with whom you can discuss frustrating experiences. This person should be anyone in your office. Talking things out will help you dissipate some of your anger so that you can begin seeing the situation more objectively.

Tough Talks D

Walk it out. Sometimes walking away from a situation that makes you prone to an angry outburst is the best strategy. Taking a walk will help you blow off steam through physical activity instead of saying or doing something you will regret later. While you are walking, breathe deeply and ask yourself whether this situation will matter in a year (or even tomorrow).

Analyze your anger pattern. If you bottle up your anger and are prone to outbursts, Finniss says that you can change your behavior. Keep a log of who and what triggered your anger and see if you can figure out ways to avoid those situations.

While changing your methods of dealing with anger requires work and self-control, the results will be rewarding and make you a more composed professional.