Still Talking While You're Mad?
One thing I notice that keeps many young folk from accessing the greater treasures of teamwork, growth, and joy is the notion that when you're mad, everybody has to hear about it and pay for it.
Let me show you what I mean.
Anger is close cousins with some other negative emotions, and they tend to quickly switch places, one leading to the other before we think things through.
I get called out for being on my phone in a meeting, and it's embarrassing to get called out, so I get mad, and to get everyone's attention off of me, I blurt out "well, Mike is on his phone, too!"
We've all been there! Maybe you aren't the person who reacts that way for that situation. But here's something a little more subtle for you to consider, because if you're reading this, I know you're ready to grow.
Jimmy walks into work and everyone is doing their best, but someone made a mistake. The team has been taught about the issue of keeping the doorways clear, but things got super busy, and for whatever reason, Jimmy's coworker Theresa made a stack of empty boxes near the doorway instead of stopping to take the time to move each empty box into the bin. Jimmy cruises around the corner with his coffee, talking to someone over his shoulder, and collides with the boxes, spilling his coffee. Order and neatness means a lot to Jimmy, and besides, he was really enjoying that coffee. So, he stops in his tracks and says, "Dude! This is exactly why we gotta keep those boxes out of the way! What's so difficult about that? What's it gonna take for us to stop doing that?"
When you've just experienced something that irritated you, you will absolutely sound irritated, unless you're some kind of Jedi master with superhuman self control. So, what's the good in talking when you're irritated? Why not just keep it to yourself until you're cool again? Even if Jimmy tries to roll it off as partly joking, or use his calm voice, it's still going to shine through.
Think about how that comes across to the people you're working with:
When people are in the middle of doing something tough, and they're doing their best and trying to stay ahead, they're probably not going to be in the mood to "get told" by an irritated person! That creates no gains for you or them. Even if Theresa owns it and comes and clears out the boxes, she's only doing it out of compliance, fear, embarrassment, or even being passive aggressive, shoving or kicking the boxes with extra noise while she clears them out.
There are plenty of team culture issues that we could focus on. Why isn't Theresa more coachable? Why can't people correct issues in the moment? On and on. I want to talk about Jimmy right now, though, and what he can control.
Jimmy can choose to do something powerful. He can put down his coffee and move the boxes himself. Maybe Theresa will see him do it, knowing she was at fault, and appreciate his behavior. Maybe Alex, the new guy, will notice that Jimmy did it without trying to find out whose fault it was or get on someone's case. Maybe the customers looking through the window will see Jimmy moving the boxes instead of some jerk with a coffee complaining to whoever is listening. And maybe Jimmy's supervisors have just walked in for a surprise visit and catch him in the act of helping his team without asking for credit.
The "ripples" you make really do affect other people, and then they will reflect that back to you. If you can learn to express your frustration to people later in a calm moment, not during the moment when you're mad, good new things can start to happen. Jimmy doesn't have to stuff his anger and never mention it. He can get himself together and go to Theresa after he finishes his coffee, and talk to her when he's under control again. Treating people well is way too hard when you're mad. So, just chill out, keep doing what you're supposed to do, and find your words when you're calm again. That's a victory that feels good to win.
Hope this finds you well, and I hope it helps!
Here's To Your Greatness,
P.S. Looking for a way to keep things light? Shoot us an email to get one of these "Salty Bro" shirts and get your people smiling today! We're in pre-launch, so for now, it's just PayPal and mailing shirts by hand :)
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