Golden oldie-The window anger opens
Vein popping, face reddening, voice raising moments are potent opportunities for leaders. I’m talking about that employee, son or daughter, neighbor, co-worker, boss, or spouse that just popped a cork and is sharing a piece of their mind they can’t afford to lose.
Angry people are transparent people.
I love to watch angry people. Angry people are transparent people. Angry people tell others how they really feel. More importantly, angry people’s values and priorities are crystal clear to anyone who cares to observe. I see the real you when you’re angry. Churchill put it this way, “A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.”
On the good side, anger demonstrates noble virtues like fairness, truth, and compassion. On the ignoble side, anger uncovers jealousy, envy, laziness, dishonesty, and so much more.
Behind passion is the real person
Even if they are overreacting, angry people open a window to their soul. Behind passion is the real person. Leaders, parents, and, spouses reach higher by peeking through the window that anger opens.
I like your slant on angry people Dan. “Angry people are transparent.” Nice addition to the discussion of how to handle the anger. I see so many people in business that freeze up or walk away when they encounter angry teammates, customers etc… Yet this is far from effective as a long term strategy.
Here are two of my followers favorite posts on this topic. Hope you enjoy:
Thorns don’t attack you. They protect them! http://katenasser.com/5-things-think-with-rude-customers-best-results/
Thanks for stopping in and leaving links to enhance the discussion. I appreciate it.
Kate is a featured blogger on Leadership Freak. She regularly adds her insights and perspective to our discussions. Read her bio at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/kate-nasser
Great insight Dan. Culturally we are trained to subdue anger and it’s sibling conflict. Yet in times of pure emotion we often get glimpses of our strongest values. When these values are challenged, anger is often a result. When anger is situational, it gives us insight into ways that a situation can be changed. When anger is personally directed, we gain insight into how our relationships can be strengthened – or – in some cases, should be ended if the values exposed by the anger are severely mismatched. Either way, the times when anger appears on the scene are learning opportunities that can guide a leader.
Bringing situational and relational categories to the discussion opens new possibilities and insights. Thank you.
Obviously its dangerous to underestimate the dangers of anger. However it looks like we agree that anger can be very useful.
I’m always glad to see that you have stopped to share you perspective.
One more point Dan, although it is rare — sometimes passion is mistaken for anger. Famed entertainer Danny Thomas was known for this. He always yelled — even when he wasn’t angry. When Andy Griffith first witnessed a planning session for the Danny Thomas show, he supposedly said that he probably couldn’t handle running a TV show since he didn’t like to yell.
One of the producers said to him, what you are missing is that Danny likes to yell. He needs to yell. So we all yell. If you don’t like yelling in planning your show, then just don’t yell and others will follow suit.
Leaders … perhaps you set the tone.
Great illustration…glad you thought to stop back in and leave it.
Great discussion, Dan. The flip side is recognizing what anger reveals about oneself. When you catch yourself acting in anger, a window has opened to look inside and ask what’s going on. Anger is always a symptom of something deeper.
Perhaps one of the things we see about ourselves is our rights. For example, when someone cuts me off on the highway and I’m upset it says, I have the right to drive safely on the highway without an idiot cutting me off. (not saying we should engage in road rage)
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Anger exposes your true feeling and thoughts. So, person becomes transparent while in angry. I agree that angry people are transparent but what makes them trasparent ? Is it the person himself or anger per se. I think, it is the anger that exposes person and not the person himself. Therefore, the nature of anger is trasparent. Transprency might be positiive or negative. I absolutely agree that behind the passion is the real person. And anger is the reaction to overcome obstacles that appear betwwn person and passion. Anger is also emotional reflection of one’s true nature. So, angry people are transparent people. However, the thought comes to my mind is- Can trasparency alone make a leader ? I think transparency with direction make one a good leader or person. So, angry people with direction are valued and angry people without direction are neglected. As long as anger is in your control and does not divert your goal and direction, it is acceptable. But when it shifts your direction and goal it is useless. So, controlled anger is positive indicator.
The other side of anger is – Anger is your weakness because you do not have focus towards your goal or directionless. Lazy people are generally more angry than others. My take on this is that lazy people have a lot of spare time to spend and when a person has spare time, he does not think positive. Empty mind is devil’s workship. Anger is also the strategy to shield oneself. In organisation, sometimes people create environment by showing their anger. And afterwards they enjoy in thier periphery. Anger is also the sign of incompetence.
In my experience, people with committed goal, direction are not angry. In fact, they are more humble and simple. And people who look or show anger are often self centered, selfish and incompetent people.So, anger also hides your true nature by creating shield.
Your comment connecting anger with goals peaked my interest. Very useful. Sometimes our anger is directed at something standing in the way of our goals. You brought a new dimension to the discussion.
Plus your thoughts about the dark side of anger are very useful to help us remember that anger can simply be an expression of selfishness. “I want may own way and I’m mad because I’m not getting it.” In this case anger is simply a strategy to get.
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Thank you for this article, you have given me considerable to contemplate.
Thanks for coming by. You are very welcomed. All the best.
My experience with angry sounding people is that often what appears to be anger is so much more. If we tap into that and open the window, we usually discover much deeper emotions. They may be about fears, disappointment, feelings of betrayal and so on. Helping people (us) find the word or words that best describe what is going on is very valuable for people being coached. Similarly, what is often underneath the actions or words that provoke us to anger are aspects of our values and identities that we perceive are being challenged. That is, when we react with defensiveness, it’s necessary to consider just what it is that we are defending. Understanding our ‘hot buttons’ and what drives them is important for any of us making efforts to regulate and better manage our clients’ or our emotions.
You packed a lot into a short comment.
Defensiveness is revealing. I think we’ve all been in a situation where we felt defensive but didn’t know the depth of the issue.
And “hot buttons” makes me think about how what irritates me about others is something I’m probably doing myself. (I realize you may not have meant it that way)
Always appreciate people who get angry. They care, they’re “in” – they’ve got skin in the game, so to speak. And sometimes they’re far clearer than the majority at hand.
As long as violence is kept in check, anger can be a powerful tool.
Same with intensity (or passion). Passion is mistaken for anger more often than not. I’ve led teams of intense and passionate folks, and am comfortable with intensity … my own and others.
Directional, focused intensity is hard to beat for great results.
Nice call on your concern re: violence. It’s true that some people use anger to intimidate and silence others. Obviously my little post on this topic doesn’t condone the dark side of the world of anger. Thanks for brining it up.
Best to you,
What an intriguing post – I’ve never thought of angry moments as a window of opportunity, but you are spot on. How many of us have not experienced a rare eruption where someone (either ourselves or spouse, co-worker, boss) makes a startling statement about something they have apparently been holding in for some time? I think it usually turns out to be a good “air-clearing” exercise that, at least provides food for thought for all. As per other comments, control is key. Thanks for consistently providing thought-provoking posts!
Thanks for stopping in and leaving an encouraging comment.
As I read your remarks I started thinking about how some need to get a “bit worked up” before they have the courage to say what they really mean. I”m not saying it should be that way but I think its true.
Best to you,
This post triggers all sorts of thoughts.
Anger is such an umbrella term for all those emotions you and others have listed Dan and can driven by frustration, fear, loss, injustice, inequity, disappointment (internal and external)…
How is this analogy…
Anger=BP pipeline burst (literal and figurative)
(eschewing any political/socio/economic/cultural bias initially…however, with intense anger, it is difficult to separate out much of anything.)
Next to impossible to contain or hide, under intense pressure, lots of opinions of how to fix, throwing junk at it only makes it worse, spreads easily and rapidly and clean up afterwards goes on for years.
Anger is a deep well, a window and a mirror.
Couldn’t agree more with your assessment “Anger is such an umbrella term.” Limiting posts to 300 words or less leaves so much room for misunderstanding as well as opportunities for readers to add their thoughts (confirming or alternative).
What kicked me while reading your comment was the last word, “mirror.” It can be a bit of a shock to turn from “window” mentality to “mirror” mentality. The fact that its a shock probably indicates it should be done more frequently.
Best to you,
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Yep, even worse when it is one of those magnifying mirrors! And if it has a light shining on it, we realize how close to home it may be.
Was also thinking about the perspective of anger as commonality. We all have experienced anger, usually find it uncomfortable, and when we see it in others, probably do a quick mental ‘been there, done that, glad its not me’ check. However, we still identify if not empathize with the angry person.
What other emotions really ‘trigger’ us? Or situations? Obviously sporting events in which we are invested. Very human situations in movies or witnessed. (Hard to not choke up with parts of Field of Dreams for instance.) Maybe there is a blog in ‘triggers’, positive or negative. For leaders, how do we apply those triggers to advance an organization. Just a thought…
Hey Mr. Rockwell,
Love this post.
I like this…. as it’s right on. I am often afraid of my anger, but it’s fairly genuine and true.