Anger Management...but How?

"The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." - Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald's

In Ireland, there is a saying that people with red hair have explosive tempers. Now in our family, that is only true if you push the redhead too far. But let's just say we have a history of flying off the handle too quickly. Which is fine when we are kids, running around the fields, but perhaps more of an obstacle if you are building a team.

So how can I control my temper, without being a wimp!

I have found that the simple way is to raise my standards. In other words, I have told myself that when I react with my emotions I am essentially giving up control of my life AND settling for somebody else's standards. Lower standards. Anyone who has been a parent will know that once little Johnny is given a clue on how to make you mad. He's going to be pushing your buttons whenever he wants his own way. I not a psychologist but in my experience it's the same in the office.

I recently found myself reacting emotionally to a rather lame game of SMS three way tennis. You know the kind, where the guy in the middle is stirring the pot and getting off on the reactions of the other two. Hardly the best use of technology, but there you go. Although I found my emotions raising up a notch, I realised that reaction would only stoke the fire. Instead, I went outside for a walk and within a few minutes had forgotten the incident.

By saying to myself, that I have higher standards and that they do not include being baited or immature is one thing. But having the presence to be able to follow that when my emotions are raised is another. It's hard to do. The ego demands you square up. The adrenalin demands to be used. But ever since I read "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, I realised that there is only way to live - and that is not reacting to my ego's demand for conflict. Raising standards in the face of provocation is an obvious concept, but it requires some old fashioned discipline to see it through.

Warwick John Fahy is an international speaker, seminar leader, professional speech coach and expert in presentation skills, public speaking and communication skills. You can contact him for more information.

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