An old boss once gave me an invaluable tip that I have tried to adhere to; when you feel angry don’t fly off an email immediately, write it, save it in draft, then sleep on it. A sense of wrongdoing or the daily gripe of the office politics can all build over time until you are so angry you want to say your piece but it’s not always the right thing to do. Here’s some advice.
- Write an angry email but don’t send it: So, do it. Get down everything you want to about why you are so angry, the reasons you believe you are not at fault and what you would have done better had you been able to control the situation. Name, names – roll off facts and figures and say it like it is – no holding back. But never put the name of the intended recipient in the To: box. This is crucial because if you do, it will just end in disaster, if you press send before you are ready to. Once it has been delivered there is no going back. Instead, save it in draft and sleep on it. I’m betting that the following day you may feel it is a little over the top in the language, even if you feel you still want to say something, better still you may feel that email is not the best channel of communicating your wrath.
- Go face to face: When you have to stare your boss in the eyes, it becomes very much harder to say what you really feel. It is far too easy to fire off an email when you are hiding behind the comfort of your screen and feeling brave but would you feel the same way if you had to say the same things in person? The very fact that you must do it face to face means you can temper and shape your conversation accordingly. You may find that two sides of the argument or facts that you weren’t party to may change your opinion.
- Vent your feelings through exercise: A run is as good as a large glass of wine on these occasions. Those feel good endorphins can really help and you may find that pushing yourself on a training session whether in the gym, on the tennis courts or at home on a rowing machine will help get out all that anger in just as an effective way as writing an angry email. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you get home from a run and you can feel you have got all that negativity out of your system.
- Avoid toxic work colleagues: I don’t mean those that have had one too many but ones that are prone to gossip and love to spin out those negative vibes. We all know the type that just can’t help themselves, but getting caught up in a web of ill feeling will only bring you down and you need to surround yourself with people that look on the brighter side of things – such as the fact that you are in a job and you are getting paid!
- Problem solve: My sister always used to say to me, “If you don’t like something then change it.” She was and continues to be right! If you can change things for the better then do it and don’t delay, your colleagues and boss will respect you for it. Think up some solutions to the problem, perhaps you can easily solve it and you can move forward and be happy again. It may even be worth confiding in your boss and collaborating with them about the way forward. Most bosses want their employees to be happy.
Whilst an angry email may seem like the immediate quick fix, you’ll soon come to regret it, leaving you with a long-term problem that may cause you further anxiety than the original source of anger did. Be smart and use this avoidance tactics to help lift you out of your angry place.