Many people would see Anger as a “personal emotion”, not something that may impact on their career or professional development. Managing anger is something they attempt to do very privately. In fact, many of us see all emotions as “personal”. In fact, many of us see all emotions as “personal”. They are inside us, belong to us and most of the time we like to think we are in control of them. The worst thing someone could say to us, as a professional, is that we are “emotional”.
Trouble is that if we are often not aware of our emotions, neither are we aware of how public they are. As Shari Caudron says, they march into the office with us every morning and direct our behaviour for the day.
Managing anger in an emotionally intelligent way is a very important soft skill for leaders and managers.
As I was thinking about how I could improve my organisational skills in this new year, especially how I could better organise my office, I was reminded of the simplicity of how it was all done back in primary school. Every Friday afternoon in Grade Six we had to clean out our school desk. It became somewhat of a ritual and it went on into Grade Seven because we had the same teacher. She had this mantra which still rings in my ears: “Clear the clutter, clear the mind”. Her belief was that the physical clutter around us reflected the clutter in our heads – inability to concentrate, jumbled and incoherent thinking – that prevented us from producing the kind of work she expected of us. It was seen as a priority in those days. One of the few text books we had was called Clear Thinking. We studied it chapter by chapter and its primary purpose was to teach us to keep our mind and our thinking clear and organised. I still hear her words whenever I let things get out of hand and find myself surrounded by clutter.
One very productive exercise I did came from a live stream I watched from Marci Shimoff and Debra Poneman. They were talking about the need to let go of “stuff” that is cluttering our lives. Their message was: If you clear the clutter, you clear the way, make space, for what’s important to enter your life. They gave us this exercise which I finished yesterday.