A friend recently confided that he had “acted badly” at work. He had raised his voice and snapped at his team. Now he felt ashamed.
I asked him to describe the situation.
“Greg” had repeatedly asked his logistics team to bill their trucking partners using new parameters. Time and again, Greg discovered that several of his staff were still using outdated pricing. This was unacceptable!
His anger seemed understandable to me—Greg’s directives were being ignored. Of course he felt angry. But instead of recognizing that his anger was an internal message to take action–Greg simply felt that it was “bad.” Ironically, suppressing his anger led to a bigger outburst. If he had allowed himself to simply acknowledge his mounting frustration–first to himself, and then to the others–Greg could have expressed himself with more skill.
While anger can lead to many harmful behaviors, anger itself is not the problem. If we feel ashamed of our anger (a common response) it will be even harder to navigate this emotion.