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Don’t get angry over anger management

Don’t get angry over anger management

Have you ever been angry at work? If you have then you are not alone. The latest Global Workplace Report 2023 published by Gallup had information from over 120,000 respondents and showed that almost one in five UK professionals reported feeling angry at work.

Whilst a lot of us probably guessed that getting angry isn’t the best thing to do, the recent findings by researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, underscore the importance of managing emotions, particularly anger, in the workplace. This study reveals the profound impact that anger can have on one’s physical health, specifically relating to cardiovascular risks, and offers a significant lesson for business students and professionals alike.

Understanding the Study

The study involved participants who were subjected to different emotional stimuli including recalling angry memories, anxious moments, and sad thoughts, contrasted with a neutral task of counting to 100. The scientists measured blood pressure, blood vessel dilation, and cell health before and after these tasks. The results were telling: tasks that evoked anger led to a temporary but significant impairment in blood vessel function, which disappeared after 40 minutes. This impairment was specifically linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke during that period.

Why This Matters in Business

The implications of these findings for the business world are profound. In an office setting, conflicts and stressful situations are common. How individuals handle these situations can not only affect their health but also influence their decision-making capabilities, interpersonal relationships, and overall workplace atmosphere.

  1. Health Risks: Knowing that anger can have such a direct and immediate impact on one’s physical health—increasing the risk of serious cardiovascular events—should encourage professionals to adopt healthier ways to handle stress and conflict.
  2. Productivity and Decision Making: Anger impairs judgment and can lead to poor decision-making. In business, where decisions can have far-reaching consequences, maintaining a balanced emotional state is crucial.
  3. Workplace Atmosphere: An angry leader or colleague can create a toxic work environment, leading to reduced morale, increased stress, and higher staff turnover rates. Promoting a culture of calm and constructive communication can enhance team collaboration and productivity.

Strategies for Managing Anger in the Workplace

Given the clear risks associated with anger, it is essential for business students and professionals to develop strategies to manage such emotions:

  • Emotional Intelligence Training: Incorporating emotional intelligence into business education and professional development can equip individuals with the tools needed to recognise, understand, and manage their emotions effectively.
  • Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Techniques: Practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can reduce stress and help individuals maintain a calm demeanor in challenging situations.
  • Constructive Conflict Resolution: Training in conflict resolution can provide employees with strategies to resolve disputes amicably and constructively, minimising the likelihood of anger.
  • Encouraging Open Communication: Cultivating an environment where employees feel safe to express concerns and frustrations can prevent the build-up of anger and promote a healthier workplace.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Encouraging regular exercise can help reduce stress and anger while promoting overall health.

Conclusion

The study from Columbia University is a crucial reminder of the significant impact emotions, particularly anger, can have on our health and professional lives. For business students, this underscores the importance of emotional management as part of their educational curriculum and personal development. By fostering emotional resilience and promoting healthy ways to manage stress and conflict, future leaders can not only safeguard their health but also contribute to a more productive and positive workplace environment.

In conclusion, this research serves as a compelling argument for the integration of emotional intelligence and health awareness into the core of business education and practice, ensuring that future professionals are not only skilled in their trade but also in managing their emotions for better health and business outcomes.

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