Ruffled Feathers: Five tips to manage anger

by Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

The election is over. There will always be winners and losers. That is the way democracy works. Many feathers are ruffled.  Poor babies. We get upset and often don’t know how we arrived in an ugly fight. This is a waste of time and I’ve made a choice not to buy into anyone else’s craziness or bitter comments. I have learned how to not get my own feathers ruffled.

Conflicts become growth opportunities when you deal with them effectively. Here are five tips:

  1. TManage anger - Don't get your feathers ruffledake the emotion out of it. The worst thing you can do when dealing with a conflict is become defensive or angry. If you start feeling upset, excuse yourself for a moment, count to 10, and return when you’re feeling objective again. Choose to communicate from the reasonable part of your brain rather than letting the Emotional Vampires take over.
    Don’t argue with an idiot. People watching may not be able to tell the difference.
  2. Become a better listener. We’ve all done it: Someone says something we don’t like, and we’re instantly thinking about a rebuttal. That’s the wrong move. Most people have their ears open but they aren’t listening. When you do that, you lose an opportunity. If you aren’t listening, you’re missing out.  Before you respond to a statement, ask another question: Can you tell me more about it?
    Silence is golden. Duct Tape is Silver.
  3. Find the common ground. We have a tendency to focus on things we disagree on, which is counterproductive. If you think about it, there’s always a lot more we agree about than we disagree about. When you acknowledge commonality, you instantly diffuse the situation.
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems. But it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
  4. Keep an open mind. Don’t judge and leave your ego at the door. This takes training; learning how to mediate and stay in your left-brain is critical.
  5. Ask more questions. Typically people are upset because the situation didn’t come out the way they wanted.  (Reread #3). Find out how decisions were made. Try not to get information from a third party. Dig – then dig some more.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”  ― Gautama Buddha


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